Navelbine, one of the most recent chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma cancer available today, is from a group of drugs known as plant alkaloids. These drugs work by stopping the cancer cells from separating into two new cells, therefore blocking the growth of the cancer. Navelbine may be used in tandem with another chemotherapy drug from a different family of medications.
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What’s the problem?
The chemotherapy drug Navelbine (also called Vinorelbine) may turn out to be a more effective treatment of mesothelioma cancer than other chemotherapy treatments such as Cisplatin. Recently researchers in Great Britain found that vinorelbine produces significantly less toxic effects than other chemotherapies when used to treat the symptoms of mesothelioma. Additionally, the results of a clinical study conducted at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London strongly suggests that Navelbine may also prolong the lives of people with mesothelioma.
Navelbine works specifically by inhibiting the development of cell structures; without microtubule structures, cells do not function properly and die. Essentially, Navelbine tells the cell to develop without this crucial element, causing the cell to abort, halting further growth. Navelbine, like all chemotherapy drugs, may disrupt the growth of cancer cells in patients with malignant mesothelioma.
Navelbine Side Effects
Unfortunately, Navelbine can damage normal healthy cells, and can cause unpleasant side effects including:
- Low blood counts – Your white and red blood cells may temporarily decrease. This can put you at increased risk for infection or anemia.
- Nadir – Meaning low point, nadir is the point in time between chemotherapy cycles in which you experience low blood counts.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Peripheral neuropathy (numbness in your fingers and toes) – may occur with repeated doses. This should be reported to your healthcare provider.
- Hair loss
- Low platelet counts – This can put you at increased risk for bleeding.
- Not all side effects are listed above, some that are rare (occurring in less than 10% of patients) are not listed here. However, you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
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