Published: Oct 15, 2008 8:00 am

Melphalan hydrochloride (news articles, forum discussions) (trade name Alkeran) is a chemotherapy drug belonging to the class of nitrogen mustard alkylating agents. It is used primarily to treat multiple myeloma and ovarian cancer, and occasionally malignant melanoma. Otherwise known as L-Phenylalanine Mustard, or L-PAM, melphalan is a phenylalanine derivative of mechlorethamine. The agent was first investigated as a possible drug for use in melanoma. It did not work, but was found to be of use in myeloma.

Oral or intravenous; dosing varies by purpose and route of administration as well as patient weight.

Side effects
Common side effects include:
Nausea and vomiting
Bone marrow suppression, including
Decreased white blood cell count causing increased risk of infection
Decreased platelet count causing increased risk of bleeding

Less common side effects include:
Severe allergic reactions
Scarring of lung tissue (usually only with prolonged use)
Hair loss

Source: Wikipedia, Melphalan, (as of August 8, 2008).

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