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How It Works

Vinorelbine interferes with the cell's ability to reproduce. Vinorelbine is an intravenous (IV) medicine. The type and extent of a cancer determines the exact dose and schedule of administering this medicine.

Why It Is Used

Vinorelbine slows or stops the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. It is commonly used to treat non–small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, and bladder cancer.

How Well It Works

Vinorelbine is an effective anti-tumour medicine. But the type and extent of a cancer determines how effectively this medicine slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.

Side Effects

Possible serious side effects of vinorelbine include:

  • Allergic reactions. Signs of allergic reaction can include trouble breathing; swelling or closing of the throat; swollen face, tongue, or lips; or hives.
  • Feeling extremely tired, bruising or bleeding easily, or signs of infection such as a fever or chills. These symptoms may mean that the medicine caused the numbers of your white or red blood cells or platelets to drop.
  • Pain at the injection site.
  • Belly pain or constipation.
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy).

Less serious side effects are more common and may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
  • Mouth sores (stomatitis), a sore throat, and jaw pain.
  • Hair loss. This is reversible, and hair will grow back when treatment ends.
  • Sun sensitivity and easy sunburn. Wear a hat and sunscreen of SPF 30 when you are outdoors and stay out of the sun as much as possible.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Vinorelbine should be administered only under the supervision of a medical oncologist.

You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after taking this medicine. Discuss fertility with your doctor before starting treatment.

Vinorelbine can cause birth defects. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant or to father a child while you are taking it.

Vinorelbine can damage the tissue around a vein if it leaks into the tissue while it is being given. Tell your health professional immediately if you notice any stinging or burning around the vein while the medicine is being given.

Vinorelbine can cause changes in the way your liver functions. Tell your doctor immediately if:

  • You have belly pain.
  • Your urine becomes dark.
  • Your skin or the whites of your eyes develop a yellow tint (jaundice).

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


Other Works Consulted

  • Abramowicz M (2003). Treatment guidelines: Drugs of choice for cancer. Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, 1(7): 41–52.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Michael Seth Rabin, MD - Medical Oncology
Last Revised July 19, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.