Procarbazine (Generic Name)

Other Names: Matulane®

About This Drug

Procarbazine is a drug used to treat cancer. This drug is given orally.

Possible Side Effects

  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Bone marrow depression usually occurs four weeks after the drug is given and may increase your risk of infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
  • Nausea and vomiting. These symptoms commonly occur early in treatment but usually decrease.
  • Drowsiness; difficulty in awakening
  • Irritability; hallucinations; shakiness or trembling
  • Sexual problems and reproductive concerns may occur. In men and women both, this drug may temporarily or permanently interfere with your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your therapy. In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations. In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are taking this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period. Women may experience signs of menopause like vaginal dryness or itching.
      • 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 to you to discuss the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. In addition, a genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems in the fetus due to this medication if an exposure during pregnancy has occurred.

Treating Side Effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medication that can help to prevent or lessen nausea or vomiting.
  • Use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment
  • Vaginal lubricants can be used to lessen vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual relations.
  • Speak with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.

Food and Drug Interactions

Before taking procarbazine, tell your doctor and nurse if you are currently taking any of the following medications:

  • Antidepressants
  • Central nervous system depressants (including antihistamines, narcotics, phenothiazines, barbiturates, and antihypertensives)

Do not eat or drink the following foods and beverages while taking this medicine:

  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Beef or chicken liver
  • Fermented sausage
  • Game meat (such as venison, duck, rabbit, etc.)
  • Pickled or dried fish
  • Yeast extracts
  • Bananas
  • Figs
  • Avocados
  • Raisins
  • Soy sauce

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Extreme fatigue that interferes with normal activities
  • Shortness of breath
  • Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating and drinking
  • Drowsiness; difficulty awakening
  • Irritability; hallucinations; shakiness or trembling
  • Vomiting more than twice in one day

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