Chemical formula of chlorambucil

The alkyllater medication chlorambucil is used as a tablet to treat:

  • leukaemia,
  • breast cancer,
  • ovary cancer,
  • Hodgkin disease,
  • lymphoma
  • other malignant conditions.

The dosage is complex and must be individualised by a doctor for each patient.

Chlorambucil must not be used in pregnancy unless the life of the mother is at risk. This is because serious damage to the foetus is likely. Adequate contraception must be used during treatment. Breastfeeding must be ceased before use. Use with children only when medically essential. Regular blood tests to monitor blood cells and liver function are essential. It must be used with extreme caution in all patients. Serious side effects are possible including:

  • bone marrow damage,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • diarrhoea,
  • mouth ulcers,
  • lung damage,
  • convulsions in children
  • yellow skin (jaundice) due to liver damage.

Chlorambucil interacts with phenylbutazone and other cancer treatments.

An overdose causes damage to blood and bone marrow cells, convulsions, incoordination and irrational behaviour. Although serious side effects are possible, chlorambucil may be life saving in some patients.

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