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Last modified on
Tue Mar 12 2002 21:56:47 PST

ABVD Information


Index




Introduction

The information that follows conforms to my "more is better" philosophy. If you are looking for lots of information about rare symptoms that you will probably never get, this is the place for you. However, if you have even the slightest tendency to become concerned about things that will probably never happen, I strongly suggest you look elsewhere.

By the way whether you decide to view all my ABVD information or not, you should look at Li Spark's excellent MOPP and ABVD information.

ABVD consists of several drugs which are used to treat some kinds of cancer. ABVD is being used to treat my Hodgkin's. These drugs are:

  • Adriamycin - belongs to the general group of drugs known as anthracycline antibiotics.
  • Bleomycin - belongs to the group of drugs called antitumor antibiotics.
  • Vinblastine - belongs to the group of drugs known as antineoplastic agents.
  • DTIC - belongs to the group of drugs called alkylating agents.

These drugs disrupt the growth of cancer cells, which are then destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by these drugs, other effects can occur. Some effects may not occur for months or years after the drugs are used.

Before taking these drug, discuss the following with your doctor:

  • If you are pregnant, breast feeding, or planning children in the future, inform your doctor before you begin treatment. These drugs may cause birth defects if either the male or female is taking them at the time of conception or during pregnancy. Man and women who are taking these drugs need to use some kind of birth control. However, do not use oral contraceptives ("the Pill") without checking with your doctor.

  • Many cancer drugs may cause sterility which could be permanent. Sterility has been reported with Adriamycin. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor.

  • If you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

  • If you smoke (Bleomycin).

  • If you have any of the following medical problems.

    Medical Problem Related Drugs
    Chicken pox Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC
    Congestive heart failure Adriamycin
    Gout Adriamycin, Vinblastine
    Heart disease Adriamycin
    Infection Vinblastine, DTIC
    Kidney disease Bleomycin, DTIC
    Kidney stones Adriamycin, Vinblastine
    Liver disease Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, DTIC
    Lung disease Bleomycin
    Shingles Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC


Proper use of these drugs


  • While you are taking Adriamycin and Vinblastine your doctor may want you to drink extra fluids so that you will pass more urine. This will help prevent kidney problems and keep your kidneys working well.

  • These drugs can cause nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Try to continue to receive these drugs, even if you begin to feel ill. Ask you doctor or nurse for ways to lessen these effects.


Precautions while taking these drugs

    Precaution Related Drug
    While you are being treated and after you stop treatment, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's okay. Also try to avoid other people who have recently taken the oral polio vaccine. Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC
    If the drug accidentally leaks out of the vein into which it is given, it may damage the tissue and cause scarring. Tell the nurse right away if you notice redness, pain, or swelling at the place of injection. Adriamycin, Vinblastine
    This drug can lower you blood counts. Follow your doctor's warnings for lowered blood counts. Adriamycin, Vinblastine
    Tell all other doctors, dentists, and pharmacists you visit that you are taking this drug. Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, DTIC


Side Effects that require prompt Doctor notification

  • The side effects listed below are derived from the technical literature about these drugs. Remember that everyone's experience is unique. The fact that this list is so enormous doesn't mean that you or your loved one will be sick with all these symptoms all the time!

  • Because of the way these drugs act on the body, there is a chance that they can cause other side effects that may not occur until months or years after the drugs are used. These very rarely can include certain types of cancer, such as leukemia.

  • Although most of the following side effects will probably not occur, if they do occur you need to call your doctor.

    Side Effect Related Drug More Common Less Common Rare
    Black, tarry stools Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC _ X (D) X (A,V)
    Blood in stools Vinblastine, DTIC _ X (D) X (V)
    Blood in urine Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC _ X (D) X (A,V)
    Chills Bleomycin _ X _
    Confusion Bleomycin _ X _
    Constipation Vinblastine _ X _
    Cough Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, DTIC X (B) X (A,V,D) _
    Darkening or redness of skin
    (after x-ray treatment)
    Adriamycin _ X _
    Difficulty in walking Vinblastine _ _ X
    Dizziness Vinblastine _ _ X
    Double vision Vinblastine _ _ X
    Drooping eyelids Vinblastine _ _ X
    Faintness Bleomycin _ X _
    Fast or irregular heartbeat Adriamycin _ X _
    Fever or chills Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC _ X _
    Headache Vinblastine _ _ X
    Hoarseness Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC _ X _
    Jaw pain Vinblastine _ _ X
    Joint pain Adriamycin, Vinblastine _ X _
    Lower back or side pain Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC _ X _
    Mental depression Vinblastine _ _ X
    Numbness or tingling in fingers and toes Vinblastine _ _ X
    Pain in fingers and toes Vinblastine _ _ X
    Pain in testicles Vinblastine _ _ X
    Pain or redness at place of injection Adriamycin, Vinblastine _ X _
    Painful or difficult urination Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC _ X _
    Pinpoint red spots on skin Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC _ X (D) X (A,V)
    Red streaks along injected vein Adriamycin _ X _
    Redness, pain or swelling at site of injection DTIC X _ _
    Shortness of breath Adriamycin, Bleomycin, DTIC X (B) X (A) X (D)
    Skin rash or itching Adriamycin _ _ X
    Sores in mouth or on lips Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, DTIC X (A,B) X (V) X (D)
    Stomach pain DTIC _ _ X
    Sweating Bleomycin _ X _
    Swelling of face DTIC _ _ X
    Swelling of feet or lower legs Adriamycin, Vinblastine _ X _
    Unusual bleeding or bruising Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC _ X (D) X (A,V)
    Vomiting Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine , DTIC X (A,B,D) X (V) _
    Weakness Vinblastine _ _ X
    Wheezing Adriamycin, Bleomycin _ X (B) X (A)
    Yellow eyes or skin DTIC _ _ X


Side Effects that you may want to discuss at your next doctor appointment

  • The Following side effects may occur but you do not need to notify your Doctor immediately unless they bother you or you have questions about them:
    Side Effects Related Drug More Common Less Common Rare
    Changes in fingernails or toenails Bleomycin _ X _
    Darkening of soles of feet, palms, or nails Adriamycin _ X _
    Darkening or thickening of the skin Bleomycin X _ _
    Diarrhea Adriamycin _ X _
    Feelings of uneasiness DTIC _ X _
    Fever (3-6 hours after dose) Bleomycin X _ _
    Flushing of face DTIC _ X _
    Itching of skin Bleomycin X _ _
    Loss of appetite Bleomycin, DTIC X _ _
    Loss of hair - usually temporary Adriamycin, Bleomycin, Vinblastine, DTIC X (A,B) X (V,D) _
    Muscle pain Vinblastine, DTIC _ X _
    Nausea Adriamycin, Vinblastine, DTIC X (A,D) X (V) _
    Numbness of face DTIC _ X _
    Reddish urine, which may stain clothes. (first 1 or 2 days after each dose.) Adriamycin X _ _
    Skin rash or colored bumps on fingertips, elbows, or palms Bleomycin X _ _
    Skin redness or tenderness Bleomycin X _ _
    Swelling of the fingers Bleomycin X _ _
    Weight loss Bleomycin _ X _


Long Term Side Effects

  • After you stop receiving these drugs, they may still produce some side effects that need attention. Notify your doctor for any of the following:

    Side EffectRelated Drug
    CoughBleomycin
    Irregular heartbeatAdriamycin
    Shortness of breathAdriamycin, Bleomycin
    Swelling of feet and lower legsAdriamycin

  • Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. Report any problems to your doctor.


Dosage Information

ABVD is administered in cycles. Each cycle is four weeks long and consists of two identical treatments two weeks apart.

The dosage is determined by body area. The body area is approximated from weight and height. My dosage was calculated using 2.1 square meters which was based on my 210 pound, 5 foot 9 inch body.
    Drug Standard Dose My Dose
    Adriamycin 25 mg/m2 50 mg
    Bleomycin 10 units/m2 20 units
    Vinblastine 6 mg/m2 12 mg
    DTIC 375 mg/m2 786 mg
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