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Bleo-kyowa (Bleomycin sulphate)

What Bleo-kyowa is and what it is used for

Bleo-Kyowa is used for treating certain types of cancer. It is made from a protein produced by a specific type of bacteria called Streptomyces verticillus. Bleo-Kyowa can enter the cells of certain tumours (cancer tissue) and block their growth, hence making it an effective drug for treating these types of cancer.

Bleo-Kyowa has both antibiotic and anti cancer activity and belongs to the group of drugs for treating cancer called cytotoxic antibiotics. Bleo-Kyowa is used to treat cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma which can affect the mouth, nose, throat, skin, cervix or external genitalia.

It is also used to treat Hodgkin’s disease and other types of cancer of the blood, as well as to treat fluid producing cancers in the cavity around the lungs or in the abdomen, and to treat testicular teratoma.

Bleo-Kyowa is also of value in treating malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer) and thyroid, lung and bladder cancer.

Before you use Bleo-kyowa

Do not use Bleo-Kyowa if you:

  • are allergic (hypersensitive) to bleomycin or to any of the other ingredients of Bleo-Kyowa
  • have a serious chest infection
  • have greatly reduced lung function

Take special care with Bleo-Kyowa if you have:

  • kidney problems, as side effects of bleomycin may be more noticeable
  • severe heart disease
  • previously received or are presently receiving radiation to the chest since you may be at greater risk of side effects.

You must tell your doctor if you plan an operation before starting your treatment with Bleo-Kyowa as it may be necessary to adjust your treatment.

Using other medicines

Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription.

Use of Bleo-Kyowa with phenytoin or with clozapine should be avoided. There have been some reports of side effects related to the lungs when Bleo-Kyowa is given with cisplatin.

When Bleo-Kyowa is used with another type or cancer drug known as vinca alkaloids to treat cancer of the testes, blood circulation to peripheral parts of the body can be severely reduced causing tissue on the fingers, toes or nose to die (necrosis).

If Bleo-Kyowa is used as one of the drugs in a multiple chemotherapy regime it may be necessary to change the dose.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

You should not be given Bleo-Kyowa if you are pregnant, may be pregnant or if you are breast- feeding. Ask your doctor for advice before taking any medicine.

Driving and using machines

A few people have reported that they feel tired or weak after the treatmnet. Do not drive or use any tools or machines if you are affected.

How to use Bleo-kyowa

Bleo-Kyowa powder from one or more vials will be dissolved in saline (a weak salt solution that mixes well with body fluids). The solution is usually given by injection in to muscle tissue or a blood vessel or into the chest or abdominal cavity depending on the type of cancer. Occasionally, it is injected directly into a tumour.

The usual treatment is for 2 or 3 days in one week and may be repeated in subsequent weeks. Sometimes the treatment is given on consecutive days for up to 5 or 10 days.

The precise dosage, frequency of dosing and duration of treatment with Bleo-Kyowa will depend on your age, weight, medical condition and whether Bleo-Kyowa is being given in combination with other drug treatment.

If other medicines or radiotherapy are also being used in your treatment or if you have kidney disease or reduced kidney function, the amount of Bleo-Kyowa given to you may be reduced.

Use in children

The dose is calculated in relation to child body weight and such treatment will probably take place under the supervision of a specialist treatment centre.

If during treatment you develop a dry cough, breathlessness, rapid breathing or anything else which suggests your lungs might be affected, you may required to be monitored by X-rays of your chest that could continue up to 4 weeks after the end of treatment.

If you are given more Bleo-Kyowa than you should

If you have been accidentally given a higher dose you may experience symptoms such as fever, low blood pressure and rapid pulse. Your doctor may give you supportive treatment for any symptoms that may occur.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, Bleo-Kyowa can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. These might occur at the time of treatment or might occur at some later time.

If you notice any of the following severe reactions tell your doctor immediately:

  • severe breathlessness
  • pneumonia – fever, chills, shortness of breath or a cough
  • severe allergic reaction – you may experience a sudden itchy rash (hives), swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, face, lips, mouth or throat (which may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing), and you may feel you are going to faint.

If you experience any of the following tell your doctor as soon as possible:

Very common: (these may affect more than 1 in 10 patients)

  • fever on the day of treatment
  • loss of appetite and weight loss
  • feeling or being sick
  • lung infection
  • sore mouth and mouth ulcers
  • pain, swelling, redness or tenderness at the site of the injection
  • darkening of the skin, which may be itchy
  • hardening, thickening, redness, tenderness or swelling of the tips of the fingers and hair loss
  • ridging of nails, blisters on pressure points e.g. elbows
  • reduced blood flow to the fingers, toes and tip of the nose

Common: (these may affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 patients)

  • tiredness, headache
  • bruising

Uncommon: (these may affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000 patients)

  • low blood pressure (you may feel dizzy or faint, particularly when standing up or getting out of bed)
  • changes in urinating or pain when urinating
  • easily picking up infections
  • liver problems

If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor.

How to store Bleo-kyowa

Keep out of the reach and sight of children.

Bleo-Kyowa should be kept in its original packaging and stored at 2-8°C.

This medicine will normally be stored by the doctor providing your treatment or by another qualified person such as a nurse or pharmacist.

Avoid contact of Bleo-Kyowa on the skin. Each vial of Bleo-Kyowa is labelled with a ‘use-by’ date and the medicine should not be used after this date.

After being treated with Bleo-Kyowa, any remaining bleomycin solution or equipment used for the treatment will be safely disposed of by your nurse or doctor. Medicines should not be disposed of via wastewater or household waste. These measures will help to protect the environment.

Further information

What Bleo-Kyowa contains

The active substance is bleomycin sulphate There are no other ingredients

What Bleo-Kyowa looks like and contents of the pack

Bleo-Kyowa is a white to yellow-ish powder which is mixed with saline before injection. It is packaged in glass vials with a rubber stopper and aluminium seal.

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