Procarbazine (patient information)

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About your treatment

Your doctor has ordered the drug procarbazine to help treat your illness. The drug is taken by mouth with capsules.

This medication is used to treat:

  • Hodgkin's disease

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Procarbazine is in a class of drugs known as hydrazine derivatives. It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.

Other uses for this medicine

Procarbazine is also used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, diffuse histiocytic lymphoma, mycosis fungoides, brain tumors, and small cell lung cancer. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.


Before taking procarbazine:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to procarbazine or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially aspirin, aspirin-substitute products, blood pressure medications, cough and cold products (particularly nose drops), medications for depression or pain, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and vitamins.
  • you should know that procarbazine may interfere with the normal menstrual cycle (period) in women and may stop sperm production in men. However, you should not assume that you cannot get pregnant or that you cannot get someone else pregnant. *Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should tell their doctors before they begin taking this drug. You should not plan to have children while receiving chemotherapy or for a while after treatments. (Talk to your doctor for further details.) Use a reliable method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. Procarbazine may harm the fetus.
  • while being treated with procarbazine, avoid tea, coffee, cola drinks, cheese, yogurt, bananas, cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages (including wine and beer). Drinking alcohol with procarbazine can cause severe nausea and vomiting.
  • do not have any vaccinations (e.g., measles or flu shots) without talking to your doctor.

Side effects

Mild side effects

Side effects from procarbazine are common and include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain
  • dryness of mouth
  • difficulty swallowing
  • headache

Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms is severe or lasts for several hours:

  • fatigue or weakness
  • mouth blistering

Severe side effects

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • unusual bruising or bleeding (especially nosebleeds)
  • fever
  • chills
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • rash
  • dizziness
  • tingling or numbness
  • confusion

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

Special instructions

The most common side effect of procarbazine is a decrease of blood cells. Your doctor may order tests before, during, and after your treatment to see if your blood cells are affected by the drug.

Brand names

  • Matulane®


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