This page contains brief details about the drug , it's indication, dosage & administaration, mechanism of action, related brands with strength, warnings and common side effects.

Background and Date of Approval

Bleomycin consists of the active ingredient Bleomycin. It belongs to a group of drugs known as antineoplastic antibiotics. It is commonly used in cancer treatment to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. It treats lymph node cancers (Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), head and neck cancer, and cancer in external genitalia. It either be used alone or with radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment. This injection is also beneficial to prevent and treat the fluid accumulation in the lungs due to cancer.

Bleomycin was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1973 for the treatment of several types of cancer, including Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and testicular cancer. It is also used off-label for treating other types of cancers, such as cervical cancer and melanoma. Bleomycin is a glycopeptide antibiotic that was first isolated from a bacteria named Streptomyces verticillus in 1966.

Mechanism of Action of undefined

Bleomycin is inhibiting cancer cell growth and proliferation. By interfering with DNA replication and transcription, it can slow or stop the growth of cancer cells, leading to their destruction. This effect is particularly important in the treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, testicular cancer, and some types of lung cancer, where rapid cell growth and division are characteristic features of the disease. Overall, it can help to shrink tumors and improve symptoms in cancer patients.

Uses of undefined

Bleomycin is primarily used to treat several types of cancer, including Hodgkin's lymphoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and testicular cancer. It is also used off-label for treating other types of cancers, such as cervical cancer and melanoma. As part of a chemotherapy regimen, it is often used with other drugs to increase its effectiveness. In some cases, it may also be used as a single agent for treating certain cancers. It is particularly effective in the treatment of testicular cancer.

undefined Drug administaration and Dosage available

Bleomycin is administered through injection by a healthcare provider in a hospital or clinical setting. The dosage and frequency of administration will vary depending on the type of cancer being treated, the patient's age and weight, and other factors. It should not be taken orally, as it is not absorbed well through the gastrointestinal tract and may cause serious side effects if ingested.

During treatment, patients should follow their healthcare provider's instructions closely and attend all scheduled appointments to monitor their condition and response to treatment. If a dose is missed, patients should contact their healthcare provider immediately for instructions on when to take the next dose. It is important not to double the dose to make up for a missed one.

Warnings, Precautions and Side Effects of undefined


Bleomycin can cause lung damage, including interstitial pneumonitis and pulmonary fibrosis, which can be fatal. Patients with pre-existing lung diseases, such as emphysema or lung cancer, may be at higher risk for developing pulmonary toxicity. It can cause allergic reactions, including hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. Patients with a history of allergic reactions or other medications should not take it. It can cause liver and kidney damage, leading to liver or kidney failure. Patients with pre-existing liver or kidney disease may be at higher risk for developing these side effects. It can cause a decrease in white blood cell counts, which can increase the risk of infections. It can harm the developing fetus and should not be used during pregnancy unless the potential benefits outweigh the risks.


When using bleomycin, there are several precautions that should be taken to ensure patient safety. Firstly, it should be used cautiously in patients with pre-existing lung disease, as it can cause pulmonary toxicity. Patients should be monitored closely for signs of lung toxicity, such as cough, shortness of breath, and fever. In addition, bleomycin should be avoided in patients with a history of severe hypersensitivity reactions to the drug. Patients should be monitored regularly for signs of bone marrow suppression; dose adjustments may be necessary if severe suppression occurs. Patients should be advised to avoid sun exposure and wear protective clothing outdoors to reduce the risk of skin damage.

Bleomycin can interact with other drugs, including aminoglycoside antibiotics and cisplatin, which can increase the risk of pulmonary toxicity. Close monitoring of patients receiving these drugs is recommended. Overall, close monitoring and appropriate precautions should be taken when using bleomycin to minimize the risk of adverse effects and ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

Side Effects

Bleomycin can cause both common and serious side effects. Common side effects of Bleomycin include fever, chills, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, skin rash, itching, hair loss, cough, and shortness of breath. These side effects are usually temporary and go away once treatment with Bleomycin is completed. However, patients should report any persistent or severe side effects to their healthcare provider.

Serious side effects include pulmonary toxicity, liver toxicity, kidney toxicity, allergic reactions, and an increased risk of infection due to low white blood cell counts. Pulmonary toxicity can cause interstitial pneumonitis and pulmonary fibrosis, which can be life-threatening. Liver toxicity can cause liver dysfunction and changes in blood levels of liver enzymes. Kidney toxicity can cause changes in kidney function and blood levels of electrolytes. Allergic reactions can cause hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing. Patients should immediately report any signs of these serious side effects to their healthcare provider.

Word Of Advice

If you are prescribed Bleomycin or any other medication, following your healthcare provider's instructions is important. Be sure to take the medication exactly as prescribed and promptly report any side effects or symptoms to your healthcare provider. It is also important to discuss any concerns or questions you have with your healthcare provider. In addition, make sure to inform your healthcare provider of any other medications, supplements, or herbal remedies you are taking, as these may interact with Bleomycin and increase the risk of side effects. Finally, take steps to maintain your overall health, such as eating a balanced diet, getting enough rest, and exercising regularly, as these can help support your body's ability to tolerate medication and recover from treatment. Women should avoid conception and breastfeeding while taking this medication.

Frequently Asked Question


  1. Nippon Kayaku Co., Ltd., US Food and Drug Administration, [Revised on April 2010], [Accessed on 1st Apr 2023],
  2. Edward Chu, Cancer Chemotherapy, Lange’s Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, 14th Edition, 2018, 948-976.
  3. Accord Healthcare Limited, Electronic Medicines Compendium(EMC), [Revised on Mar 2018] [Accessed on 1st Apr 2023],
  4. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg's Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology, 11th edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2019, 573-582.
  5. Goodman & Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 13th Edition, 2017, 1317-1322


The drug information on this page is not a substitute for medical advice. It is meant for educational purposes only. For further details, consult your doctor about your medical condition to know if you can receive this treatment.