Mechlorethamine (By injection)


Mechlorethamine (me-klor-ETH-a-meen)

Treats Hodgkin's disease and other kinds of lymphoma and leukemia.

Brand Name(s)


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • This medicine, like all medicines used to treat cancer, is very strong. Make sure you understand why you are getting it and what the risks and benefits of treatment are. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor.
  • Your doctor will decide how much medicine you should have and when it will be given. A nurse or other caregiver trained to give cancer drugs will give your treatment.
  • An intravenous (in-tra-VEEN-us) or IV injection is given through a tube put in one of your veins, usually in your arm, wrist, hand, or sometimes in your chest.
  • This medicine is sometimes given as a direct injection into your chest or abdomen.
  • You may get your treatments at a clinic or hospital because the IV must be given as soon as medicine powder has been mixed with liquid.
  • Drink 8 to 12 full glasses of liquids daily while you are being treated with this medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a regular schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, caregiver, or the clinic where you get your treatments.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows about all other treatments you have had for cancer, including radiation treatment.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccinations (such as flu shots).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have gout, kidney stones, or amyloidosis.
  • Do not get the medicine on your skin or in your eyes, mouth, or nose. If some medicine does accidentally get on your skin or in your eyes, mouth, or nose, tell your caregiver. The caregiver will need to rinse the area for several minutes, and he or she may apply another medicine to the affected area. You may need to see a doctor right away.
  • If any of this medicine gets on your clothing, the clothing must be thrown away. There is a chance that the medicine could get on your skin or in your eyes, mouth, or nose from the clothing.
  • There is a chance that this medicine may cause other tumors in your body. Discuss this with your doctor.
  • You may get infections more easily while getting this medicine. Stay away from crowds or people with colds, flu, or other infections.
  • This medicine can cause nausea and vomiting that usually lasts less than a day. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to keep you from feeling sick and throwing up. If the medicine does not help (you can't keep liquids down), call your doctor.
  • Do not get pregnant while you or your sexual partner are receiving mechlorethamine. Use an effective form of birth control while you are being treated with this medicine.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before you start your treatments.
  • If you become pregnant or suspect you have become pregnant while receiving this medicine, call your doctor right away.
  • Some cancer drugs may make you sterile (unable to have children), whether you are a man or woman. If you plan to have children someday, talk with your doctor before you start your treatments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in face or hands, swelling or tingling in the mouth or throat, tightness in chest, trouble breathing
  • Dizziness, trouble hearing, or ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • Fever, chills, or sore throat
  • Pain, burning, swelling, or redness where the IV is given
  • Painful blisters on the skin
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Yellow skin or eyes

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Tiredness, weakness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 10/4/2017

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