Ovarian Cancer Home > Melphalan

People who have multiple myeloma or ovarian cancer may benefit from melphalan. By disrupting the ability of cancer cells to grow and divide, the medication can help relieve cancer symptoms and slow down the progression of the cancer. However, it is not a cure for the disease. Side effects may include low levels of white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells.

What Is Melphalan?

Melphalan (Alkeran®) is a prescription chemotherapy medication that is available as an injection or a tablet. It is approved for the palliative treatment of certain types of cancer. This type of treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms of a condition, but does not provide a cure. In cancer treatment, palliative care may slow down the progression of cancer.
The types of cancer melphalan is approved to treat include:
(Click What Is Melphalan Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any chemotherapy medicine, melphalan can cause side effects, some of which can be significant and potentially serious. In fact, most people will experience some type of adverse reaction during treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to prevent or lessen reactions to this drug.
Common side effects of melphalan include but are not limited to:
  • Low white blood cells, which could increase the risk for infections
  • Low platelets, which could cause bleeding
  • Low red blood cells, which could lead to anemia.
(Click Melphalan Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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