Cancer Home > Gliadel Overdose

A healthcare provider will surgically implant Gliadel (carmustine implant) wafers in the brain, so an overdose on this drug is unlikely to occur. However, if too many wafers are used, it might cause serious problems, such as seizures, changes in vision, or brain swelling. Treatment may consist of supportive care to treat any resulting effects or surgery to remove the wafers.

Can You Receive Too Much Gliadel?

Gliadel® (carmustine implant) is a prescription medication approved to treat adults with cancerous brain tumors. It is implanted into the brain after the tumor is removed.
 
Because this medicine is inserted surgically into the brain by a healthcare provider, an intentional overdose is unlikely. However, as with most medicines, it is probably possible to receive too much Gliadel.
 

Effects of an Overdose

It is unknown what to expect from an overdose of this medication. Doses higher than eight Gliadel wafers have not been studied in clinical trials, and there have not been any reports of an overdose with this medicine.
 
It is not unreasonable to expect an overdose to cause the usual Gliadel side effects. However, in the case of an overdose, the side effects may be more severe or more likely to occur. Some of the possible problems may include:
 
  • Paralysis on one side of the body
  • Seizure
  • Headache
  • Swelling and pressure around the brain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Brain swelling
  • Pressure around the brain, which could cause:
 
    • Headaches
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Problems with coordination or balance
    • Changes in vision
    • Difficulty with concentration or memory.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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