procarbazine (generic name)

This medicine reduces the growth of cancer cells
(proe KAR ba zeen)
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What is this medicine?

PROCARBAZINE (proe KAR ba zeen) is a chemotherapy drug. This medicine reduces the growth of cancer cells. It is used to treat Hodgkin's disease. It is often given with other cancer drugs.

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

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • infection (especially virus infection such as chickenpox or herpes)
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • low blood counts like low platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells
  • smoke tobacco
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to procarbazine, other chemotherapy, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • alcohol
  • green tea
  • furazolidone
  • isoniazid
  • linezolid
  • MAOIs like Carbex, Eldepryl, Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
  • medicines for allergies, colds, or congestion
  • medicines for migraine
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • some medications for Parkinsons disease like entacapone, levodopa, tolcapone
  • stimulant medicines for attention disorders, weight loss, or to stay awake

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • dextromethorphan
  • medicines for sleep during surgery
  • medicines to increase blood counts like filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, sargramostim
  • medicines to numb skin or other tissue during procedures
  • meperidine
  • pentazocine
  • phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine
  • phenytoin
  • tramadol
  • trazodone
  • tyramine in some foods and drinks; ask your dietician for a complete list of foods to avoid
  • vaccines

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. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.

This medicine can interact with certain foods that contain tyramine. The combination may cause severe headaches, a rise in blood pressure, irregular heart beat, or you may otherwise feel unwell. Foods that contain significant amounts of tyramine include aged cheeses, meats and fish (especially aged, smoked, pickled, or processed such as bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage), beer and ale, alcohol-free beer, wine (especially red), sherry, hard liquor, liqueurs, avocados, bananas, figs, raisins, soy sauce, miso soup, yeast/protein extracts, bean curd, fava or broad bean pods, or any over-ripe fruit. Ask your doctor or health care professional, pharmacist, or nutritionist for a complete listing of tyramine-containing foods. Also, avoid drinks containing caffeine, such as tea, coffee, chocolate, or cola.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

It is recommended that you stop smoking tobacco products (like cigarettes or cigars) while taking this medicine. Smoking tobacco products may increase your risk of developing lung cancer in the future.

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.

Men should inform their doctors if they wish to father a child. This medicine may lower sperm counts.

Tell your health care professional that you are taking this medicine if you are scheduled to have any surgery, procedure or medical testing.

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Last Updated: July 16, 2009
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