Chemotherapy - Procarbazine

Brand Name: Matulane

Procarbazine is a chemotherapy drug that is administered for the treatment of brain cancer, multiple myeloma, melanoma, and lymphoma. It functions as an alkylating agent, meaning it interferes with DNA reproduction and cell replication in fast growing cells, such as tumors.

This drug is used in the treatment of both Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas, and is administered in conjunction with other chemotherapy drugs in the following protocols:

  • BEACOPP (bleomycin, etoposide, adriamycin, cytoxan, oncovin, prednisone, procarbazine)
  • ChIVPP/EVA (chlorambucil, oncovin, procarbazine, prednisone, etoposide, vinblastine, adriamycin)
  • COPP (cytoxan, oncovin, procarbazine, prednisone)
  • MOPP (mustargen, oncovin, procarbazine, prednisone)

Drug Administration

Procarbazine is taken orally as a pill.

Side Effects

Common side effects include low blood counts and low platelet counts, making it hard for the blood to clot. Some patients lose their appetite or experience nausea when taking the pill.

Less common side effects include alopecia (hair loss), diarrhea, constipation, flu symptoms, mouth sores, infertility, and dizziness. Some patients may have a hypersensitive reaction and develop a rash. If pneumonitis (a lung problem) develops, ingestion of procarbazine should stop.

Some patients will develop a secondary cancer, such as leukemia, in the years after treatment is finished.

Precautions

Procarbazine is known to react with certain foods that have a high tyramine content. The following should be avoided to prevent unwanted side effects [NOTE: this is not a complete list]: caffeine, beer and red wine, chocolate, aged cheeses, seafood, yogurt, raspberries, avocados, raisins and prunes.

Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, should also be avoided.

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