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What is vincristine?

Vincristine (also called Oncovin®) is an anticancer medicine. It is a clear liquid given by vein (IV).

Vincristine can pose a health hazard to caregivers. All caregivers should take safety precautions while giving this drug. For 48 hours after this drug is given, the patient’s body fluids can contain the drug. During that 48-hour period, caregivers should follow safety guidelines when handling the patient’s vomit, blood, urine, and bowel movements, including diapers. These guidelines include wearing gloves when cleaning up body fluids. For a complete list of safety precautions, see “Do you know… Protecting caregivers from drug hazards.”

Possible side effects of vincristine


  • Irritated tissue and skin damage at the IV site

Later (usually more than a day after treatment starts)

  • Constipation
  • Pain or cramping in the abdomen
  • Jaw pain, problems chewing
  • Pain while urinating
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Trouble walking
  • Hands or feet feel numb, weak or tingle
  • Muscle cramps or muscle weakness
  • Hair loss
  • Low levels of sodium in the blood
  • Seizures
  • Weak or hoarse voice (rare)
  • Problems with swallowing (rare)

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 vincristine

  • The doctor may prescribe a stool softener or laxative if you have constipation.
  • The doctor may prescribe medicine to help with the numbness, tingling, or pain that can occur with vincristine therapy.
  • Tell the nurse right away if you have pain or redness at the IV site.
  • If the level of sodium in your blood is low, the doctor may decrease your daily fluid intake.
  • Some medicines may affect the way vincristine works. Vincristine may affect the way other medicines work. These include:
    • Itraconazole
    • Ketoconazole
    • Voriconazole
    • Warfarin
    • Digoxin
    • Calcium-channel blockers (such as amlodipine, nifedipine, diltiazem, or verapamil)
    • Phenytoin
  • Always tell the doctor if you are taking these medicines, or if you start taking any new medicines while you are receiving vincristine.


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).