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Vinblastine (Velban®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • Vinblastine belongs to a group of medications known as vinca alkaloids and is obtained from the plant Cantharanthus roseus.
  • The drug is commonly used in the treatment of cancer. One of the hallmarks of cancer is the speed at which cancer cells divide. Vinblastine will bind to the proteins of actively dividing cells, preventing cell division and resulting in cell death.
  • Since cancer cells tend to divide rapidly, the drug will primarily effect these cells. Unfortunately, certain other body cells also divide rapidly, such a hair and gastrointestinal lining cells, resulting in effects on these sites of the body as well.
  • Vinblastine is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Name or Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Velban® (Lilly) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Vinblastine

  • Vinblastine is used to treat malignant cancers such as lymphoma and mast cell tumors.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, vinblastine can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Vinblastine should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Vinblastine should also be avoided in animals with liver disease, low white blood cell counts or active infections.
  • Vinblastine may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with vinblastine.
  • This drug has been shown to suppress the immune system in some animals.
  • Vinblastine may cause hair loss, vomiting, nausea or diarrhea.
  • Constipation, jaw pain and irritation within the mouth may also occur.
  • This medication should only be given intravenous. If injected outside the vein, significant inflammation, including skin necrosis or sloughing, may occur.

    How Vinblastine is Supplied

  • Vinblastine is available in injectable form only at a concentration of 1 mg/ml in 10 ml and 25 ml vials.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Vinblastine is administered in a hospital setting and is not prescribed for home use.
  • Vinblastine is commonly used in combination with other drugs to treat cancerous processes at a dose of 2 mg/m2 intravenous every 7 to 14 days in both cats and dogs.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects.

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