Lomustine is an oral medicinal drug used in treating brain cancer. It can be primary (tumor developed in the brain itself) or metastatic (spread from any other cancer). This drug is also used in combination with other drugs to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer (melanoma). But predominantly, it is used for treating brain tumors. Lomustine acts by retarding or ceasing the growth of cancer cells in the body.
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Lomustine is classified as an “alkylating nitrosourea agent” used in chemotherapy. It is a cytotoxic (toxic to cells) or antineoplastic drug used in chemotherapy. This ingredient is available in the form of yellow powder with the systematic name N-(2-chloroethyl)-N'-cyclohexyl-N-nitrosourea. The empirical formula is C9H16CIN3O2 with molecular mass 233.695 g/mol. This ingredient is soluble in lipids, 10% ethyl alcohol and absolute alcohol, and it is water insoluble.
This nitrosurea drug suppresses certain enzymatic processes that are responsible for tumor growth. It also alkylates RNA and DNA. It suppresses enzymatic processes by the carbamylation of proteins (amino acids).
Your physician prescribes Lomustine after diagnosing the malignancy.
You can go through the medicine booklet for detailed instructions, as this medicine is a cytotoxic agent and should be used cautiously.
It is available in 10 mg, 40 mg and 100 mg potency and it comes under capsule form, which is administered orally.
This medicinal drug is usually taken as a single dose once every 6 weeks.
You should take this drug with water on an empty stomach.
You should not consume food or fluids for two hours after taking the dose, to avoid nausea and gastric irritation.
The dosage of Lomustine depends on many factors, such as patient’s height and weight, general health condition or any other health issues, and the type or stage of the cancer. Hence, your physician is the right person to decide the dose and schedule of this drug.
You should swallow the whole capsule with water; do not crush, or chew, or split the capsule.
You should inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic or sensitive to Lomustine, or any other drugs.
You should tell the doctor about the other prescription or nonprescription drugs, nutritional supplements, vitamins, or herbal medicines you are taking or planning to take.
You should inform your physician if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breast-feeding a child, before undergoing Lomustine therapy. While consuming this medicine, if you become pregnant, immediately inform your doctor. The effects of this drug on newborn or fetus may prove fatal, leading to health hazards.
In case of missed dose, take the medicine as soon as you remember the dose and inform your doctor if you have taken the dose at different schedule or inform before taking the missed dose.
You should store this medicine with utmost care; keep it tightly closed with container it came and away from the children. You should keep this medicine at room temperature and away from direct heat or sunlight. You should ask your pharmacist about the disposal of Lomustine, as the biomedical waste should be disposed with utmost care.
You can ask your doctor about the diet plan while undergoing Lomustine treatment or you can continue with your normal diet.
You should not consume alcohol in any form while taking this drug.
Over dosage of this medicine causes bone marrow suppression, abnormal liver function, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, vomiting, loss of appetite and lethargy.
One should strictly take this therapeutic agent under the supervision of your doctor; as the blood counts, renal and kidney function tests are mandatory for dosage adjustments and schedule.
There are few risks involved in developing other cancers while taking Lomustine, discuss risk factors of taking this drug with your doctor.
The treatment duration of Lomustine often depends on the type, stage and severity of the disease, and patient’s need, response and susceptibility. Hence, there is no specific duration of treatment. Since this therapeutic agent is an anti-neoplastic drug, it is highly recommended to use it as per the doctor’s directions.
Probable Side Effects
While undergoing treatment with Lomustine, you may experience following symptoms –
Low urine output
In such situations, you should immediately call your doctor for emergency medical evaluation, to avoid further health complications.
Other medicinal drugs like prescription or OTC medicines, multivitamins and herbal supplements can interact with Lomustine. You should inform your healthcare practitioner about every medicine you use or taken in past. This will help evade medical complications caused by adverse drug interactions.
Severe bacterial infections
End stage liver/kidney disease
Low white blood cells/ platelets
Bone marrow dysfunction
Allergic to Lomustine
Patients having above-mentioned health issues are strictly prohibited for using this cytotoxic agent.