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Other names:

Blenoxane®, Bleo, BLM

Often used for:

Lymphoma, Germ cell tumors, Squamous cell carcinoma, Treatment of fluid build-up in the lungs

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What is bleomycin?

Bleomycin is a type of chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cells.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver and kidney function. Lung function tests and chest X-rays may also be performed.

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May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV

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May be given as a liquid injected under the skin (subcutaneous)

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May be given as a liquid injected into a muscle (IM)

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May be given as a liquid injected into the chest cavity

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Possible side effects

  • Lung problems
  • Hair loss
  • Skin irritation, rash
  • Hand-foot syndrome (tingling of the hands and feet, redness and flaking of the skin)
  • Darkening of skin color
  • Changes in nails
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Fever and chills
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: hives, rash, itching, difficulty breathing and/or swallowing, low blood pressure

Not all patients who take bleomycin will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Possible late effects

Some patients may experience long-term or late effects of treatment that may continue or develop months or years after treatment ends. Possible late effects due to bleomycin include:

  • Lung problems
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Tips for families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • This medicine may cause lung problems. Patients should have ongoing monitoring of lung function as recommended by a doctor.
  • If bleomycin is given after radiation therapy, the skin area that was exposed to radiation therapy may become red again.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during and after treatment as recommended by their doctor.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions to avoid contact with patient body fluids, which can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.