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Dacarbazine intravenous

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Dacarbazine and temozolomide


Infusions of dacarbazine (as dacarbazine citrate)

Drugs List

  • dacarbazine 100mg powder for solution for injection
  • dacarbazine 1g powder for solution for infusion
  • dacarbazine 200mg powder for solution for injection
  • dacarbazine 500mg powder for solution for infusion
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Advanced adult soft tissue sarcomas ( except mesothelioma, Kaposi sarcoma)
    Advanced Hodgkin's disease - as adjunctive chemotherapy
    Metastatic malignant melanoma

    Treatment of metastatic malignant melanoma.

    Used in combination with other cytotoxic agents to treat:
    Advanced Hodgkin's disease
    Advanced adult soft tissue sarcomas (except mesothelioma, Kaposi sarcoma)


    Whilst the doses stated below are those recommended by the manufacturer, local cancer network protocols for the relevant indication should be consulted.

    Duration of therapy should be determined considering the type and stage of the underlying disease, the combination therapy administered and the individual response to dacarbazine. Adverse effects should also be taken into consideration.


    Malignant melanoma
    Administered as a single agent in doses of 200 to 250 mg/square metre/day for 5 days, every 3 weeks.

    It can also be given as an intravenous infusion at a dose of 850 mg/square metre on day 1, and then once every 3 weeks.

    Hodgkin's disease
    A daily dose of 375 mg/square metre intravenously every 15 days, in combination with doxorubicin, bleomycin and vinblastine (ABVD regime).

    The recommended duration is 6 cycles of ABVD treatment.

    Adult soft tissue sarcomas
    A daily dose of 250 mg/square metre intravenously on days 1 to 5 in combination with doxorubicin every 3 weeks (ADIC regime).


    (See Dosage; Adult)


    No dosage recommendations can be made. Consult local treatment protocols for dosage information.

    Patients with Renal Impairment

    The renal drug handbook suggests the following dose reductions:
    Creatinine clearance 45 to 60 ml/minute: Reduce dose by 20%
    Creatinine clearance 30 to 45 ml/minute: Reduce dose by 25%
    Creatinine clearance less than 30 ml/minute: Reduce dose by 30% and use with caution


    For administration by intravenous injection or infusion.

    Intravenous Injection
    Doses up to 200 mg/square metre may be given as a slow intravenous injection over 1 to 2 minutes.
    After reconstitution with water for injection, without further dilution, dacarbazine preparations are hypo-osmolar and should be given by slow intravenous injection, rather than rapid bolus injection.

    Intravenous Infusion
    Larger doses ranging from 200 to 850 mg/square metre should be administered as a 15 to 30 minute intravenous infusion.
    The patency of the vein should be tested prior to infusion with a 5 to 10 ml flush of sodium chloride infusion solution or glucose 5% infusion. After the infusion of dacarbazine, the same flush solution should be used to flush any remaining drug from the tubing.


    Renal impairment - creatinine clearance below 10ml/minute
    Severe hepatic impairment

    Precautions and Warnings

    Children under 18 years
    Mild hepatic impairment
    Mild renal impairment

    Advise ability to drive/operate machinery may be affected by side effects
    Treatment to be prescribed under the supervision of a specialist
    Consult local policy on the safe use of anti-cancer drugs
    If extravasation occurs follow local policy & seek expert help immediately
    Protect from light during infusion
    Staff: Not to be handled by pregnant staff
    Bone marrow suppression is cumulative
    Monitor eosinophil levels
    Monitor full blood count regularly
    Monitor hepatic function regularly
    Monitor liver size
    Monitor renal function regularly
    Consider the use of anti-emetics before and during therapy
    If veno-occlusive disorder occurs, discontinue and do not restart therapy
    Consider discontinuation if severe haematological events occur
    Discontinue if hepatic function deteriorates
    Discontinue if hypersensitivity reactions occur
    Discontinue if renal function deteriorates
    Advise patient to avoid alcohol during treatment
    Male & female: Contraception required during & for 6 months after treatment

    Cases of veno-occlusive disease have been reported, therefore frequent monitoring of liver size, function and blood counts (eosinophils) are required. If symptoms of veno-occlusive disease occurs, treatment should be discontinued and treatment with high dose corticosteroids with or without fibrinolytic agents have been shown to be successful. Symptoms of veno-occlusive disease include; fever, eosinophilia, abdominal pain, enlarged liver, jaundice and shock.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Dacarbazine is contraindicated during pregnancy.

    Animal studies have shown mutagenic, teratogenic and carcinogenic effects.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Dacarbazine is contraindicated in breastfeeding.

    At the time of writing there is limited data on the use of dacarbazine during breastfeeding. It not known whether it is excreted into human breast milk, a risk to the infant cannot be excluded.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Abdominal pain
    Allergic reaction
    Anaphylactic reaction
    Blood dyscrasias
    Bone marrow depression
    Elevation of liver enzymes
    Exanthematous rash
    Facial flushing
    Facial paraesthesia
    Haematological toxicity
    Hepatic impairment
    Hepatic necrosis
    Hepatic veno-occlusive disease
    Hyperpigmentation of skin
    Impaired vision
    Increase in alkaline phosphatase
    Influenza-like syndrome
    Irritation (injection site)
    Renal impairment
    Skin photosensitivity
    Visual disturbances


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: November 2014

    Reference Sources

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Joint Formulary Committee. British National Formulary(online) London: BMJ Group and Pharmaceutical Press. Accessed on 5 November 2014.

    Paediatric Formulary Committee. BNF for Children (online) London: BMJ Group, Pharmaceutical Press, and RCPCH Publications Accessed on 5 November 2014.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Dacarbazine tablets. Medac GmbH. Revised May 2014.

    The Renal Drug Handbook. 3rd edition. (2009) ed. Ashley, C and Currie, Radcliffe Publishing Ltd, Abingdon.

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