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Vinflunine (Javlor)

Find out what vinflunine is, how you have it and other important information about taking this drug. 

What is it

Vinflunine is also called Javlor. It is a chemotherapy drug used to treat:

  • advanced cancer of the bladder
  • advanced cancer of the tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body (the urethra)
  • advanced cancer of the centre part of the kidney (the renal pelvis)

You might have vinflunine if you have already had cisplatin or carboplatin chemotherapy. You may also have it as part of research for other types of cancer. 

How it works

Vinflunine is from a group of drugs known as the vinca alkaloids. 

It works by attacking part of the cell's structure that is made out of a protein called tubulin. So the cells can't separate into 2, which stops the growth of the cancer. 

How you have it

You have vinflunine into your bloodstream (intravenously). It takes about 20 minutes each time. 

Before each treatment you have blood tests so you are likely to be at the hospital for a few hours. 

Into your bloodstream

You have the treatment through a drip into your arm. A nurse puts a small tube (a cannula) into one of your veins and connects the drip to it.

You might need a central line. This is a long plastic tube that gives the drugs into a large vein, either in your chest or through a vein in your arm. It stays in while you’re having treatment, which may be for a few months.

When you have it

You usually have vinflunine once every 3 weeks. Your doctor will tell you the number of treatments you may need. 

Tests during treatment

You have blood tests before starting treatment and during your treatment. They check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.

Side effects

Important information

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice

You should not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice when you are taking this drug because it can react with the drug.

CYP enzymes

Some medicines, foods and herbal supplements that contain CYP enzymes can interfere with how vinflunine works. Speak to your doctor about this. 

Other medicines, foods and drink

Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.

Pregnancy and contraception

This drug may harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you are having treatment with this drug and for at least 3 months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.

Breastfeeding

Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drug may come through in your breast milk.

Fertility

You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after treatment with this drug. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future. Men may be able to store sperm before starting treatment. Women may be able to store eggs or ovarian tissue but this is rare.

Treatment for other conditions

Always tell other doctors, nurses, pharmacists or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

Immunisations

Don’t have immunisations with live vaccines while you’re having treatment and for at least 6 months afterwards.

In the UK, live vaccines include rubella, mumps, measles, BCG, yellow fever and shingles vaccine (Zostavax).

You can:

  • have other vaccines, but they might not give you as much protection as usual
  • have the flu vaccine
  • be in contact with other people who've had live vaccines as injections

Avoid contact with people who’ve had live vaccines taken by mouth (oral vaccines). This includes the rotavirus vaccine given to babies. The virus is in the baby’s urine for up to 2 weeks and can make you ill. So, avoid changing their nappies for 2 weeks after their vaccination if possible. Or wear disposable gloves and wash your hands well afterwards.

You also need to avoid anyone who has had oral polio or typhoid vaccination recently.

More information about this treatment

For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.

You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.

Information and help

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