Vinorelbine (Generic Name)

Other Names: Navelbine®, vinorelbine tartrate

About This Drug

Vinorelbine is used to treat cancer. This drug is given in the vein (IV).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
  • Nausea and throwing up
  • Hair loss or thinning.
  • Skin and tissue irritation may involve redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site. This happens if the drug leaks out of the vein and into nearby tissue.
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • Constipation (not able to move bowels)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in your liver function. Your doctor will check your liver function as needed.
  • Effects on the nerves are called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and feet. It may be hard for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk as usual. The effect on the nerves may get worse with more doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped but it does not get better in all people.

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Soreness of the mouth. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
  • Trouble walking or changes in the way you walk.
  • Jaw pain

Treating Side Effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine to help stop or lessen nausea and throwing up.
  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • Check with your doctor or nurse before you use any enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.
  • Speak with your nurse about obtaining a wig before you lose your hair. Also, call the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 to find out information about the “Look Good...Feel Better” program close to where you live. It is a free program where women undergoing chemotherapy learn about wigs, turbans and scarves as well as makeup techniques and skin and nail care.
  • Tell your nurse right away if you have any pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the IV infusion while this drug is infusing.
  • If you have numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of Vinorelbine with food. This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help.

Allergic Reactions

Serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis are rare. While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), tell your nurse if you have any of these symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling
  • Feeling your heart beat quickly or in a not normal way (palpitations)
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Flushing, itching, rash, and/or hives

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Temperature of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Rash or itching
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
  • Throwing up more than three times in one day
  • Redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site
  • Chest pain

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Pain in your mouth or throat that makes it hard to eat or drink
  • Nausea that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Pain in arms or legs that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Numbness, tingling, or decreased sensation in fingers and toes
  • Trouble walking or changes in the way you walk
  • Feeling clumsy when buttoning clothes, opening jars, or other routine activities
  • Muscle weakness
  • No bowel movement for three days or if you become uncomfortable
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain in fingers or toes
  • Lasting loss of appetite or weight loss of five pounds or more in one week
  • Extreme tiredness that interferes with normal activities

Reproductive Concerns

  • Infertility warning: Sexual problems and reproduction concerns may happen. In both men and women, this drug may affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your treatment. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
  • In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are getting this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period.
  • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.
  • Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.
  • Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.
Revised July 2014

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com