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What Is Procarbazine?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Procarbazine is an antineoplastic chemotherapy medication typically used to treat certain forms of cancer, specifically, some types of brain cancer. Also marketed as Matulane® in the United States, and Natulan® in Canada, procarbazine is available in capsule form, and the usual dosage may have to be adjusted slightly for those with certain medical conditions, particularly kidney or liver failure. Since procarbazine is designed to destroy cancer cells, it is quite strong, making side effects common. Some of the most frequently reported side effects of procarbazine include gastrointestinal disturbances, dry mouth, headache, and difficulty swallowing.

As is the case with many drugs used in cancer therapy, gastrointestinal disturbances are among the most commonly reported side effects of using procarbazine. These side effects can range from mild to severe, depending upon the ability of the doctors to find other medications which are helpful in combating these side effects. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common, although many patients also experience abdominal pain and cramping. Weight loss frequently occurs when taking this type of medication.

Headache, dry mouth, and difficulty swallowing frequently occur when taking procarbazine, although a doctor should be notified if these side effects become severe. Other potential side effects include weakness, fatigue, and the development of blisters in the mouth. These symptoms usually subside within a few hours of taking the medication. If they persist or are particularly bothersome, a doctor needs to be notified so the dosage can be re-evaluated.

Serious complications involving the use of procarbazine do not occur very often, but symptoms suggesting the possibility of these complications should be reported to a doctor or other medical professional immediately. In many cases, procarbazine is combined with other cancer-fighting drugs, and the combinations or dosages may need to be adjusted depending upon individual circumstances.

Some of the more serious potential side effects which need to be reported to the medical staff right away include fever, chills, sore throat, and the development of a cough. In some cases, a rash may develop over various parts of the body, and itching may or may not be present. Neurological disturbances such as dizziness or a feeling of numbness and tingling may indicate that complications are developing from the use of this medication. In rare cases, various states of confusion may be present, prompting the need for immediate medical attention. Any questions or concerns about the use of procarbazine or the possible side effects associated with this medication should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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