Navelbine® is a chemotherapy drug a doctor may prescribe for a patient undergoing treatment for non-small cell lung cancer, Hodgkin's disease, ovarian cancer, or breast cancer. This drug is among a class of medications known as mitotic inhibitors, and it works by interfering with the process of mitosis in cancer cells. The medication prevents cancer cells from dividing, slowing or halting the spread of cancerous growths in the patient. It may be given with other medications and therapies like radiation, depending on a patient's case.
This drug is a semi-synthetic plant alkaloid derived from periwinkles. Patients receive Navelbine® by infusion, usually in a cancer clinic. Staff members at the clinic are familiar with cancer treatment and the needs of cancer patients and have special training in handling chemotherapy medications. Many of these drugs are very harsh and could cause severe health complications if not used correctly, particularly for patients receiving high doses.
For patients, one immediate risk of Navelbine® administration is the fact that the drug is a vesicant. If it leaks around the infusion site, it can cause blistering and the development of skin sores. Patients who notice itching, tingling, redness, or active blistering around the needle should immediately request assistance from a nurse or doctor. Navelbine® also lowers blood cell counts, making patients more vulnerable to infection. Anemia and weakness are commonly associated with the drug, particularly when it is at peak concentrations. This is because the drug attacks all dividing cells, not just cancer cells, and thus limits the body's ability to produce new blood cells.
Patients on Navelbine® commonly experience hair loss, nausea, and peripheral neuropathy, where the extremities are not as sensitive to sensation like heat and pain. These side effects can be a cause for concern if they are severe, and a patient can discuss them with a doctor to explore options for managing them. Doctors usually want to keep their patients on the medication if possible, but they will recommend a different drug if it becomes intolerable for the patient.
Pregnant women receiving cancer treatment need to exercise care. Navelbine® is linked with harm to developing fetuses, but not treating the cancer may be more harmful. Pregnant patients can meet with an oncologist and obstetrician to discuss a cancer diagnosis and the most effective treatment plan. The doctors can evaluate the patient's case and the situation to make the most appropriate treatment recommendations for the patient's needs.