Cancer Home > Precautions and Warnings With Altretamine
Although altretamine can be an effective form of chemotherapy for some people, it may increase the risk for problems with the nervous system, bone marrow depression, or other potentially serious complications. This medicine may not be safe for people who have a history of seizures or those with kidney or liver disease. Precautions and warnings with altretamine also apply to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
- Liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure
- Had severe bone marrow depression (very low red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets)
- Nerve damage or a disorder of the nervous system
- Ever had a seizure
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.
Specific Altretamine Precautions and Warnings
- Altretamine can cause significant side effects. It should only be given by a healthcare provider who has experience using chemotherapy medications. Your healthcare provider will weigh the risks and benefits of using this medicine before recommending treatment.
- You will need blood tests and other monitoring at least monthly during treatment to make sure you are not developing potentially serious side effects, such as low blood cell counts and brain and nerve problems. Make sure to keep all of your healthcare and laboratory appointments.
- Like other chemotherapy medicines, altretamine can cause significant bone marrow depression (when the bone marrow is unable to make normal amounts of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets). This can lead to serious problems, such as:
- Let your healthcare provider know if you are taking altretamine and experience any nervous system problems, such as:
- Numbness or tingling sensations in the hands and feet
- Problems with coordination
- Mood changes
- Spinning or whirling sensations.
- Medications similar to altretamine have been shown to increase the risk for developing other cancers. There have been reports of people developing other types of cancer, including leukemia, after long-term altretamine treatment.
- Altretamine may react with several other medications (see Drug Interactions With Altretamine for more information).
- It is unknown if altretamine passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Hexalen and Breastfeeding).
- Altretamine is a pregnancy Category D medication, which means it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy (see Hexalen and Pregnancy).