BCG vaccine (generic name)

This medicine stimulates the immune system to ward off cancer cells
(ba SIL us KAL met gay RAYN)
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What is this medicine?

BACILLUS CALMETTE-GUERIN LIVE, BCG (ba SIL us KAL met gay RAYN) is a bacteria solution. This medicine stimulates the immune system to ward off cancer cells. It is used to treat bladder cancer.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • aneurysm
  • blood in the urine
  • bladder biopsy within 2 weeks
  • fever or infection
  • immune system problems
  • leukemia
  • lymphoma
  • myasthenia gravis
  • need organ transplant
  • prosthetic device like arterial graft, artificial joint, prosthetic heart valve
  • recent or ongoing radiation therapy
  • tuberculosis
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to Bacillus Calmette-Guerin Live, BCG, latex, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This drug is given as a catheter infusion into the bladder. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional. You will be given directions to follow before the treatment. Follow your doctor's directions carefully. Try to hold this medicine in your bladder for 2 hours after treatment.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • antibiotics
  • medicines to suppress your immune system like chemotherapy agents or corticosteroids
  • medicine to treat tuberculosis

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. This drug may make you feel generally unwell. Contact your doctor if your symptoms last more than 2 days or if they get worse. Call your doctor right away if you have a severe or unusual symptom.

Infection can be spread to others through contact with this medicine. To prevent the spread of infection follow your doctor's directions carefully after treatment. For the first 6 hours after each treatment, sit down on the toilet to urinate. After urinating, add 2 cups of bleach to the toilet bowl and let set for 15 minutes before flushing. Wash your hands before and after using the restroom.

Drink water or other fluids as directed after treatment with this medicine.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

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Last Updated: March 19, 2009
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