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Mechlorethamine HCL

Other Names: Mustargen®

About This Drug

Mechlorethamine hydrochloride  is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV). 

Possible Side Effects 

  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting). 
  • Decrease appetite (decreased hunger)
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • Rash
  • Local irritation, swelling and blood clots are possible in the vein used for infusion. A blood clot in your arm may cause your arm to swell, appear red and warm, and/or cause pain. 
  • Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis are rare but may happen in some patients. Signs of allergic reaction to this drug may be swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way. If this happens,do not take another dose of this drug. You should get urgent medical treatment. 

Note: Not all possible side effects are included above.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Severe bone marrow depression
  • Tumor lysis syndrome: This drug may act on the cancer cells very quickly. This may affect how your kidneys work. 
  • Changes in your liver function
  • Skin and tissue irritation including redness, pain, warmth or swelling at the IV site if the drug leaks out of the vein and into nearby tissue. Very rarely it may cause local tissue necrosis (tissue death). 
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • This drug may raise your risk of getting a second cancer. 

Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team. 

Important Information

  • This drug may be present in the saliva, tears, sweat, urine, stool, vomit, semen, and vaginal secretions. Talk to your doctor and/or your nurse about the necessary precautions to take during this time.

Treating Side Effects

  • Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
  • Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities. 
  • To decrease infection, wash your hands regularly. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who have a cold, the flu, or other infections. 
  • Take your temperature as your doctor or nurse tells you, and whenever you feel like you may have a fever.
  • To help decrease bleeding, use a soft toothbrush. Check with your nurse before using dental floss. 
  • Be very careful when using knives or tools.
  • Use an electric shaver instead of a razor.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid). 
  • If you get diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping.
  • Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea.
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help or stop lessen these symptoms.
  • To help with decreased appetite, eat small, frequent meals.
  • Eat high caloric food such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt and milkshakes. 
  • If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you. 

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of mechlorethamine hydrochloride with food. 
  • This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions.
  • The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help. 

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities 
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Easy bleeding or bruising 
  • Your leg or arm is swollen, red, warm and/or painful
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities 
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • A new rash or a rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines 
  • Signs of tumor lysis: Confusion or agitation, decreased urine, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramping, numbness and/or tingling, seizures.
  • Signs of allergic reaction: swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way
  • While you are getting this drug, please tell your nurse right away if you have any pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the IV infusion.
  • If you think you may be pregnant. 

Reproduction Warnings

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug can have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Women of child bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
  • Breastfeeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: In men and women both, this drug may affect your ability to have children in the future. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2018. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have.

CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.