Cancer is a common and serious disease in our companion animals. The most important goal with any cancer treatments is to maintain your pet’s quality of life. Cancer treatment may involve any combination of surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is using a drug or combination of drugs to kill cancer cells while not harming the normal cells in the body. Cancer cells are rapidly dividing which makes them more vulnerable to certain drugs. However, certain cells in the bone marrow can also be targeted by chemotherapeutic drugs. Many patients undergoing chemotherapy require close monitoring to ensure that the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets (all cells produced by the bone marrow) are not negatively affected. Chemotherapy is often used to treat the body systemically when cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body or to treat cancer that cannot be treated with surgery or radiation therapy alone. Lomustine is a chemotherapy drug that is available as an oral capsule.
WHAT IS THIS DRUG?
- A chemotherapeutic drug which has anti-cancer effects
- Given by mouth
REASONS FOR PRESCRIBING:
- To treat central nervous system cancer, mast cell tumors, and lymphoma
WHAT DOGS/CATS SHOULD NOT TAKE THIS MEDICATION?
- This medication should be used with caution in pets with kidney disease or liver disease
- This medication should be used with caution in pets with anemia or other bone marrow abnormalities
- This medication should be used with caution in pets with respiratory dysfunction
- This medication should be used with caution in pets with current infections
- This medication should not be used in pregnant or nursing pets
- Animals with a known hypersensitivity or allergy to this drug should not take this medication
Most chemotherapeutic drugs are given in the safety of the veterinary hospital. If this medication has been sent home for you to administer, read and follow the label carefully. Chemotherapy protocols (dosing schedules) can vary depending on the type of cancer and medications being used. Give the exact amount prescribed and only as often as directed. Give this medication for as long as your veterinarian directs. Do not skip doses or stop giving the medication without consulting your veterinarian. This medication may be a life long medication.
Many chemotherapeutic agents can be hazardous to your health. Ensure that you have been given clear directions from your veterinarian regarding the safe handling of this medication.
If you are administering an oral chemotherapeutic drug, you should wear latex gloves while handling the medication. When you are finished giving the medication, dispose of the gloves in an appropriate location and wash your hands to remove any medication residue from your skin.
It is also important to remember that your pet’s body excretions such as feces, urine, and vomit may be hazardous for a certain period of time. Within 24 hours of drug administration, you should not handle these unless absolutely necessary. If your pet has an accident, wear appropriate protective equipment such as gloves to avoid skin contact and dispose of all items properly. Again, wash hands thoroughly when finished. Any soiled bedding within 24 hours of chemotherapy administration should be washed in hot water.
Baseline blood work is necessary to assess your pet's general health before starting this medication. Periodic blood work will be required to monitor this medication’s effects on the body. Dose adjustments or changes to the dosage schedule may be made based upon these results and an assessment of how your dog or cat is responding clinically.
Call ahead for refills.
Ideally, give the medication at the same time(s) daily.
WHAT IF A DOSE IS MISSED?
If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time.
STORAGE AND WARNINGS:
Lomustine should be stored in a childproof container in a cool, dry place at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight.
Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets.
Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.
Women of childbearing age should use extreme caution when handling this medication due to the potential for birth defects.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS:
- This medication can have severe and irreversible effects on the liver
- This medication can affect the gastrointestinal system causing nausea, appetite loss, vomiting and diarrhea
- This medication can affect the bone marrow resulting in low red blood cells (anemia), low white blood cells (increasing the risk for infection), and low platelets (increasing the risk for bleeding)
- This medication can cause hair loss
- This medication can cause changes to the lung and cornea
- If you notice any of these symptoms or if your pet's condition worsens contact your veterinarian
CAN THIS DRUG BE GIVEN WITH OTHER DRUGS?
- Yes, but possible interactions may occur with other immunosuppressive drugs, bone marrow suppressive drugs, and live virus vaccines
- Drugs other than those listed may also interact with Lomustine
- Do not give new food or medications without first talking to your veterinarian
- If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian
Contact your veterinarian immediately if pet receives more than the prescribed amount.
WHAT TO TELL/ASK A VETERINARIAN BEFORE GIVING MEDICATION?Talk to your veterinarian about:
- When your pet will need to be rechecked
- What tests may need to be performed prior to and during treatment with this drug
- What are the risks and benefits of using this drug
- If your pet has experienced side effects on other drugs/products
- If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
- If your pet has experienced liver or kidney disease now or ever
- If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
- All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet’s medications can be given together.
- If your pet is pregnant, nursing or if you plan to breed your pet
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
Notify your veterinarian if your animal's condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice an infection, fever, bleeding, yellowing of the eyes, persistent vomiting, or severe illness.
As with all prescribed medicines, Lomustine should only be given to the pet for which it was prescribed. It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed.
This is just a summary of information about Lomustine. If you have any questions or concerns about this medication or for the condition it was prescribed, contact your veterinarian.