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Vinorelbine (Navelbine)

Brand name: Navelbine ®  

Generic name: Vinorelbine  

Other names: Vinorelbine Tartrate  

Therapeutic Class: plant alkaloid 

Manufacturer / Distributor:  Pierre Fabre 

Availability: Vinorelbine is available by prescription only  

Indications: Vinorelbine is used to treat many cancers, mainly:

  • non-small cell lung cancer
  • metastatic breast cancer
  • ovarian cancer 
  • Hodgkin's disease. 

Vinorelbine can be prescribed for other medical conditions not listed in this article; contact your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 

Dosage form: Vinorelbine is given by injection into a vein 

Dosage: Your oncologist will consider several criteria to prescribe your an appropriate dosage: your age, body surface area (height and weight), type of cancer treated, taking other medications or not, as well as your health status. Usually, a lower dose of Vinorelbine is recommended when it is taken in combination with other drugs or therapy (such as radiation therapy). Depending on your body’s reaction to the drug, your doctor may stop or change the way you take it.  

Usually, Vinorelbine is injected into a vein. Vinorelbine can be used alone or in combination with other chemotherapy medications. The usual dose is 25-30 mg/m2 body surface, once a week. To avoid endovenous irritation, your doctor may dilute the drug in normal saline, and infuse it in 20 minutes, following by a rinsing of the vein. In general, the drug is given in a hospital or health center with sterilization equipment for its preparation. Vinorelbine should be administered by your oncologist or a physician experienced in chemotherapy drugs.   

Overdose: overdosing any chemotherapy drug is dangerous.  Overdose of Vinorelbine can lead to a decrease in white blood cells and platelets, which can cause serious infections. Even in the absence of overdose, Vinorelbine can cause neurological problems, which can be characterized by an abolition of tendon reflexes and impaired sensitivity to the limbs. Vinorelbine can also cause broncho-pulmonary and heart problems.    

During the treatment, keep all appointments with your doctor and laboratory. Contact your doctor or the poison control center nearest you immediately if you experience these symptoms: loss of muscle coordination, vision and/or speech problems, sore throat, persistent cough, frequent or painful urination.  

Missing dose: Vinorelbine is given in hospital; it is basically difficult for you to miss any dose if you are present in the hospital for the treatment. Therefore, it is very important to keep all appointments with your doctor . If for some reasons you cannot go to the hospital, contact your oncologist before the date scheduled for the therapy.    Do not stay home because you experience adverse effects; Vinorelbine causes side effects in most patients.  

Contraindication: Vinorelbine is contraindicated or should be used with precaution in the following conditions:   

  • allergic to Vinorelbine  or any of its ingredients 
  • low white blood cell count and/or platelets 
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.   

Mechanism of action (MOA):  Vinorelbine belongs to the plant alkaloids; it slows or stops the progression of cancer cells by interfering with their genetic material (DNA), an element essential for their reproduction.  

Interactions:  talk you to your doctor before taking aspirin, vitamins, nutritional supplements, or any non prescription medication. Certain medications can interact with Vinorelbine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any prescription medication, especially cisplatin (Platinol), mitomycin (Mutamycin), and other chemotherapeutic drugs.    

Side effects:  as with any chemotherapy drugs, Vinorelbine cause side effects in most patients. Most common Vinorelbine side effects include :

  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • vomitting
  • diarrhea 
  • constipation 
  • hair loss
  • increased risk of infections
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet. 

If the side effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:  

  • fever 
  • chills 
  • shortness of breath 
  • persistent cough 
  • severe constipation 
  • persistent diarrhea
  • abnormal burning and tingling 
  • unusual bleeding or bruising 
  • sore throat or mouth pain
  • Redness, pain, or swelling at the site of the injection.