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Melphalan parenteral 50mg

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Alkylating agents


Melphalan injection

Drugs List

  • melphalan 50mg powder for solution for injection
  • Therapeutic Indications


    By regional arterial perfusion-localised malignant melanoma (extremities)
    By regional arterial perfusion-localised soft tissue sarcoma (extremities)
    Myeloma - multiple
    Neuroblastoma in childhood
    Treatment of carcinoma of the ovary


    Due to the complexity and specialist nature of dosage regimens for the treatment of malignant disease, specific dosing information on this agent is not included.

    Doses may vary significantly if this agent is used as monotherapy or different combinations.

    When using this agent, specialist literature, national guidelines, cancer networks protocols and Trust chemotherapy protocols should be consulted.

    Melphalan should not be administered without haematopoietic stem cell rescue at doses above 140 mg/ metre squared of body surface area.

    Patients with Renal Impairment

    High intravenous doses of melphalan (100 to 240 mg per metre squared body surface area), the need for dose reduction depends on the degree of renal impairment, whether haematopoietic stem cells are re-infused and the therapeutic need.

    Moderate to Severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance 30 to 50 ml/minute)
    Conventional dose (8 to 40 mg per metre squared body surface area): Initial dose should be reduced by 50% and subsequent dosage determined according to the degree of haematological suppression.
    High dose melphalan treatment without haematopoietic stem cell rescue: Dose reduction of 50% is usual. However there is a risk of under dosing so dose should be reduced with caution.

    Severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance below 30 ml/minute)
    High doses of melphalan without haematopoietic stem cell rescue: Contraindicated

    High doses of melphalan with haematopoietic stem cell rescue have been successfully used in dialysis patients with end stage renal failure. Relevant literature should be consulted for details.


    For intravenous use and regional arterial perfusion only.

    If a high dose of melphalan injection is administered with or without autologous bone marrow transplantation, administration via a central venous line is recommended.

    For regional arterial perfusion, the literature should be consulted for detailed methodology.


    Severe myelosuppression

    Precautions and Warnings

    Recent radiotherapy
    Renal impairment

    Administration of live vaccines is not recommended
    Reduce dose in patients with renal impairment
    Consider use of anti-infective prophylaxis during neutropenic phase
    Give pre-treatment counselling and consideration of sperm cryopreservation
    Maintain adequate hydration during therapy
    Treatment to be prescribed under the supervision of a specialist
    Consult local policy on the safe use of anti-cancer drugs
    Doses above 140mg per metre squared require haematopoietic stem cell rescue
    If extravasation occurs follow local policy & seek expert help immediately
    Monitor blood counts regularly
    Monitor closely patient with pre-existing renal impairment
    Monitor patients for signs of tumour lysis syndrome
    Dose reduction may be required in myelosuppression &/or bone marrow aplasia
    Potentially leukaemogenic
    Potentially mutagenic
    Interrupt therapy if leukocyte and platelet counts fall significantly
    Male & female: May cause infertility
    Male & female: Ensure adequate contraception during treatment

    Alkylating agents are not recommended for use in patients with porphyria. However N.A.P.O.S - The Drug Database for Acute Porphyria, classify melphalan as probably not porphyrinogenic.

    Patients with renal impairment should be closely observed as they may also have uraemic marrow suppression. Dosage reduction may be necessary for such patients. A clinically significant rise in blood urea may occur in patients with pre-existing renal impairment.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Melphalan is contraindicated during pregnancy.

    Melphalan is mutagenic and structurally similar to known teratogenic compounds. It is possible that melphalan could cause congenital defects in the offspring of patients treated with the drug. The potential hazard to the foetus must be balanced against the expected benefit to the mother.

    The effect of concurrent therapies must also be considered.

    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 ( ).


    Contraindicated in breastfeeding.

    Due to the low molecular weight of melphalan, excretion into the breast milk is likely. Therefore there is the potential for severe toxicity in the nursing infant.

    The effect of concurrent therapies must also be considered.

    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

    Abnormal liver function tests
    Allergic reaction
    Anaphylactic shock
    Blood urea increased
    Bone marrow depression
    Cardiac arrest
    Compartment syndrome
    Creatine phosphokinase increased
    Haemolytic anaemia
    Interstitial pneumonitis
    Maculopapular rash
    Muscle fibrosis
    Muscle necrosis
    Muscular atrophy
    Pulmonary fibrosis
    Sensation of warmth
    Sterility (male, permanent)
    Tingling sensation
    Veno-occlusive disease


    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: July 2013

    Reference Sources

    British National Formulary, 65th Edition (2013) Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    BNF for Children (2012-2013) Pharmaceutical Press, 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.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Melphalan 50mg injection/infusion. Aspen Pharma Trading. Revised November 2012

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

    N.A.P.O.S - The Drug Database for Acute Porphyria
    Last Reviewed 8th July 2010
    Last Accessed 16th July 2013

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