What is this medication for?

Altretamine belongs to the groups of cancer-fighting medications known as antineoplastics. Altretamine fights cancer by preventing the growth of cancer cells, which eventually results in their destruction. Altretamine is used alone or with other antineoplastics to treat cancer of the ovaries.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Hexalen® is available as:

  • capsule
    • 50 mg
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended adult dose of altretamine varies according to body height and weight. It is taken by mouth 4 times per day (after meals and at bedtime). Altretamine is usually taken for 14 to 21 days in a row with a rest period of 1 to 2 weeks before starting another 14 to 21 days of treatment.

If intolerable side effects occur, the doctor may reduce the dose or temporarily stop the medication. This medication may cause nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, but it is important that you continue to use the medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor. If you vomit shortly after taking a dose of medication, call your doctor for instructions on whether to skip that dose or to take another dose.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

As well as reducing the number of cancer cells in your body, altretamine can interfere with your normal cells. This can cause a number of side effects. Keep track of any side effects and report them to your doctor as suggested in the section "What side effects are possible with this medication?"

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take altretamine if you:

  • are allergic to altretamine or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • have severe neurologic (nerve) toxicity such as severe pain and tingling of the hands and feet, dizziness, or drowsiness
  • have severely reduced blood levels of white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets
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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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