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Consumer Medicine Information
This leaflet answers some common questions about DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection.
It does not contain all the available information.
It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor or pharmacist has weighed the risks of you being given DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection against the benefits they expect it will have for you.
If you have any concerns about this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep this leaflet in a safe place. You may need to read it again.
Dacarbazine belongs to a group of medicines known as antineoplastic or cytotoxic agents. You may also hear it referred to as a chemotherapy medicine. Dacarbazine belongs to a group of cytotoxics known as ‘alkylating agents’.
Dacarbazine works by killing cancer cells and stopping cancer cells from growing and multiplying.
DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection is used to treat some types of melanomas (skin cancers) and a type of cancer called sarcoma.
Your doctor may have prescribed DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection for another reason.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection has been prescribed for you.
This medicine may be used in combination with other medicines to treat cancer.
DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection is available only with a doctor’s prescription.
You must not be given DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection if you have an allergy to dacarbazine or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection may include:
You should not be given DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:
Tell your doctor if you have an infection or high temperature. Your doctor may decide to delay your treatment until the infection has gone. A mild illness, such as a cold, is not usually a reason to delay treatment.
You should not be given dacarbazine if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Like most medicines used to treat cancer, dacarbazine is not recommended for use during pregnancy, unless you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits involved.
Dacarbazine may cause birth defects if either the male or female is using it at the time of conception. It is recommended that you use some kind of birth control while you are receiving this medicine and for at least 12 weeks after you stop. Your doctor will discuss this with you.
Many cancer medicines can cause infertility. Your doctor should discuss this issue with you before you begin therapy with DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection.
You should not be given DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection if you are breast-feeding. It is not known whether dacarbazine passes into breast milk. However, breast-feeding is not recommended while you are being treated with dacarbazine.
If you are not sure whether you should be given DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have allergies to:
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have or have had any medical conditions, especially the following:
Tell your doctor or dentist if you intend having any dental work while being treated with dacarbazine. Dacarbazine may increase the incidence of infection, delayed healing and gum bleeding. It is therefore recommended that any dental work be completed prior to starting dacarbazine treatment.
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start being treated with dacarbazine.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.
Some medicines and dacarbazine may interfere with each other. These include:
These medicines may be affected by dacarbazine, or may affect how well it works. You may need different amounts of your medicine, or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor or pharmacist will advise you.
Do not have any immunisations (vaccinations) while you are being treated with dacarbazine, and for at least one year after you stop treatment, without your doctor’s approval. Dacarbazine may lower your body’s resistance and there is a chance that you may get the infection the immunisation is meant to prevent.
In addition, other people in close contact with you (such as other persons living in your household) should not take oral polio vaccine (sabin) since there is a chance they could pass the polio virus on to you.
Your doctor and pharmacist may have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while you are being given Dacarbazine for Injection.
Your doctor will decide what dose of dacarbazine you will receive. This depends on your condition and other factors, such as your weight, height and if you are being given any other chemotherapy medicines.
Dacarbazine for Injection may be given alone or in combination with other drugs.
Several courses of dacarbazine therapy may be needed, depending on your response to treatment.
Additional treatment may not be repeated until your blood cell numbers return to acceptable levels and any uncontrolled effects have been controlled.
Ask your doctor if you want to know more about the dose of dacarbazine you receive.
DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection is given as a slow injection into a vein.
DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection must only be given by a doctor or nurse.
Dacarbazine is usually given in one of two different ways:
Each group of smaller doses is
called a ‘cycle’ of chemotherapy. Your doctor will decide how many of these cycles you will need.
As Dacarbazine is given to you under the supervision of your doctor, it is very unlikely that you will receive too much. However, if you experience severe side effects after being given dacarbazine, tell your doctor immediately or go to the Accident and Emergency department of your nearest hospital.
In case of overdose, immediately contact the Poisons Information Centre for advice (telephone 13 11 26 in Australia, or call 0800 764 766 in New Zealand)
You may need urgent medical attention.
Symptoms of a dacarbazine overdose include the side effects listed below under ‘Side Effects’, but are usually of a more severe nature.
Be sure to keep all your doctor’s appointments so your progress can be checked. Your doctor may want to check your blood pressure and do some blood and other tests from time to time to check on your progress and detect any unwanted side effects.
Keep follow up appointments with your doctor. It is important to have your follow-up cycles of dacarbazine at the appropriate times to get the best effects from your treatments.
Tell any other doctors, dentists, and pharmacists who are treating you that you are being given dacarbazine.
If you are about to be started on any new medicine, tell your doctor, dentist or pharmacist that you are being given dacarbazine.
If you plan to have surgery that needs a general anaesthetic, tell your doctor or dentist that you are being given dacarbazine.
If you plan to be vaccinated within a year of being given dacarbazine, tell the doctor before you are vaccinated.
If you become pregnant while you are being given dacarbazine, tell your doctor immediately.
Dacarbazine can lower the number of white blood cells and platelets in your blood. This means that you have an increased chance of getting an infection or bleeding. The following precautions should be taken to reduce your risk of infection or bleeding:
Your body breaks down dacarbazine and uses it to fight cancer. The breakdown products may be excreted in body fluids and waste, including blood, urine, faeces, vomit and semen.
In general, precautions to protect other people should be taken while you are receiving chemotherapy and for one week after the treatment period by:
Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how dacarbazine affects you. As with some other medicines, dacarbazine may cause dizziness, tiredness and confusion in some people. Make sure you know how you react to dacarbazine before you drive a car, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or light-headed. If this occurs do not drive.
If you drink alcohol, dizziness or light-headedness may be worse.
Tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are being given DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection. Like other medicines that treat cancer, dacarbazine may have unwanted side effects, some of which may be serious. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects.
If you are over 65 years of age you may have an increased chance of getting side effects.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.
Tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
These are the more common side effects of dacarbazine. Mostly these are mild and short-lived.
Tell your doctor immediately or go to the Accident and Emergency department of your nearest hospital if you notice any of the following:
These are serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention.
Temporary loss of hair, particularly that on the scalp is a less common side effect of dacarbazine and occurs in a small number of patients. The severity of hair loss will depend on the dose of dacarbazine given. It is more common when other anti-cancer medicines are used together with dacarbazine.
Other side effects not listed above may occur in some patients.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything that is making you feel unwell.
Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.
The benefits and side effects of dacarbazine may take some time to occur. Therefore even after you have finished your dacarbazine treatment you should tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the side effects listed in this section.
DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection will be stored in the pharmacy or on the ward. The injection is kept in a refrigerator where the temperature stays between 2-8 °C, and protected from light.
DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection is a white or pale yellow coloured powder which will be mixed with Water for Injection before use.
Dacarbazine for Injection does not contain lactose, sucrose, gluten, tartrazine or any other azo dyes.
Hospira Australia Pty Ltd
ABN 58 097 064 330
390 St Kilda Road
Melbourne VIC 3004
New Zealand Sponsor:
Hospira NZ Limited
23 Haining Street
DBL® Dacarbazine for Injection is available in the following strength:
this leaflet was updated in February 2009.
Published by MIMS/myDr June 2009