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Liposomal Vincristine

How Does It Work?

Liposomal vincristine belongs to a group of medicines known as vinca alkaloids. Vinca alkaloids are also called antimicrotubule agents because they affect microtubules, which are proteins within cells that help cells divide and multiply.
Liposomal vincristine works by binding to tubulin, a protein that makes up microtubules. When bound to tubulin, liposomal vincristine alters the structure of microtubules, preventing them from functioning normally. As a result, the altered microtubules cannot help cells divide. This stops the cells' growth and causes the cells to die.
Liposomal vincristine can kill both cancer cells and healthy cells, which is what causes many of the dangerous side effects. However, it has a greater effect on cells that rapidly multiply. Generally, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells and are, therefore, more affected by liposomal vincristine treatment.
The active ingredient in the medication, vincristine, is contained in tiny particles of fat (liposomes). This changes how the medication is processed in the body. Liposomal vincristine stays in the body longer than nonliposomal vincristine (Vincasar PFS®). It is thought to be more effective than Vincasar PFS and to have fewer side effects.

When and How to Use This Medicine

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with liposomal vincristine include the following:
  • This medication comes in injectable form. It is usually given slowly into a vein (as an intravenous, or IV, infusion) once every seven days.
  • You will normally receive your liposomal vincristine dose in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or infusion center.  
  • Each liposomal vincristine dose is given over approximately one hour.
  • Let your healthcare provider know right away if you experience redness, swelling, or burning at your IV site while receiving your infusion. This could be a sign of a serious problem.
  • Liposomal vincristine should only be given intravenously (as an IV). It may cause death if administered by other routes.
  • This medication can cause constipation. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay well hydrated, unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise. You may also need to increase your dietary fiber and take medicines to soften your stool (stool softeners).
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. This medication works best if it is taken on schedule; however, you may need an interruption in therapy if you develop certain side effects.  
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Liposomal Vincristine Drug Information

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