Skip to main content




What is procarbazine?

Procarbazine (also called PCB or Matulane®) is an anticancer drug. It is available as a 50-mg ivory capsule and as a liquid taken by mouth.

Possible side effects of procarbazine


  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rashes and itching
  • Reaction when procarbazine is taken with certain foods or medicines. Symptoms may include sweating, headache, rapid heartbeats, and high blood pressure.

Later (usually more than a day after treatment starts)

  • Low blood counts (after 4-6 weeks) with increased risk of infection, bleeding, and anemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Need to urinate more often
  • Damage to lungs that may result in cough
  • Stomach pain or burning; upset stomach
  • Feeling confused, restless, or dizzy; headache

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for procarbazine

  • Taking procarbazine at bedtime may decrease nausea. Nausea should decrease after the first few days.
  • Procarbazine can react with a chemical called tyramine in certain foods, drinks, and medicines. Do not start taking any other medicines without contacting your doctor. This includes cough, cold, and sinus medicines sold in stores. Foods to avoid entirely or to eat only in small amounts are listed below. Follow these instructions while taking procarbazine and for 14 days after you stop taking the medicine.
  • Store procarbazine capsules and oral liquid at room temperature in a dry place.

Foods to avoid on procarbazine

  • All aged cheeses: Blue brie, brick, Boursalt, Camembert, cheddar, Colby, Emmentaler, Gouda, Gruyere, mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, Romano, Stilton and Roquefort or blue cheese (including salad dressing)
    Note: Cream cheese is OK.
  • Treated meats and sausages: Bologna, liverwurst, dry sausage (salami, pepperoni), corned beef, sausages, country ham, and other meats treated with tenderizers
  • Meat-flavored soup cubes (boullion), instant gravies, meat extracts
  • Pickled herring, caviar, salted dried fish
  • Yeast extracts, brewer's yeast, marmite
  • Broad beans (fava beans) and pod beans (limas, lentils, snow peas, soybeans)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Aged drinks: Red wines (Sherry, Chianti, Burgundy, Vermouth), beers and ales

Foods to eat only in small amounts on procarbazine

Eat no more than 4 oz., 1/2 cup, or 120 ml of these foods per day.

  • Processed cheese (American cheese slices, Velveeta, etc.)
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Buttermilk
  • Avocados
  • Chocolate (including foods made with chocolate)
  • Bananas
  • Peanuts
  • Canned figs
  • Soy sauce
  • Raisins
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, colas)
  • Red plums
  • Distilled spirits (hard liquor)
  • Raspberries
  • White wine or port wine

Important information about procarbazine

  • Spoiled foods, especially fruits and dairy products, contain high amounts of tyramine.
  • Be sure to eat only fresh fruits.
  • Do not use milk or other dairy products when the date on the container is close to expiring.

Safe handling of procarbazine

All chemotherapy drugs taken by mouth can pose a health hazard to caregivers and patients. You should be careful when handling this medicine and try to keep the drug from touching the skin. Taking precautions will ensure that both the patient and the caregiver are protected as well as possible.

  • Prepare a clean area where the drug can be handled safely (away from areas where food is prepared, out of the reach of children, and out from under any air vents or fans).
  • We suggest you or the caregiver wear gloves while handling this medicine. Wash your hands right away if your skin comes in contact with the medicine.
  • Completely clean up any spills in the area where the medicine is prepared.
  • For the liquid, St. Jude will provide enough oral syringes for each dose. Use each oral syringe only one (1) time and then discard it in the trash. Do not try to wash and reuse the syringes.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).