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Bendamustine is used in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (type of cancer that starts from white blood cells in the bone marrow), non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (cancer that originates in lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network spread throughout your body) after failed treatment with rituximab and multiple myeloma (cancer that forms in plasma cell) in combination with prednisone.

How it works

Bendamustine belongs to class of drugs called alkylating agents. It works by destroying the DNA, thus killing the existing cancer cells and also preventing the growth and spread of new cancer cells.

Common side effects

Vomiting, Nausea, Decreased white blood cell count (neutrophils), Liver enzyme increased, Infection, Acne, Anxiety, Constipation, Depression, Diarrhoea, Abdominal pain, Dry mouth, Altered taste, Headache, Increased creatinine level in blood, Increased blood urea, Increased sweating, Itching, Insomnia, Loss of appetite, Reduced blood platelets, Mouth ulcer, Skin redness, Weight loss


Expert advice

  • Monitoring of the blood cell count and potassium level is required before the start and regularly during the therapy.
  • Consult your doctor if you have any signs of infection, fever, lung symptoms, skin reactions, pain in abdomen, blood in urine, reduced volume of urine.
  • Inform your doctor if you have heart disease (heart attack, chest pain, severely disturbed heart rhythms).
  • Men should adopt appropriate contraceptive measure during and up to 6 months after treatment and may require sperm conservation prior to treatment because of possibility of irreversible infertility.
  • Bendamustine may cause sleepiness and dizziness or lack of coordination; it is advisable to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery under such circumstances. 
  • Bendamustine is not recommended for children and adolescents.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is bendamustine a vesicant?
Bendamustine has vesicant properties and can seriously damage skin and underlying fat if leaks during administration
Q. Is bendamustine a chemotherapy drug?
Yes, Bendamustine is a chemotherapy drug.
Q. Is bendamustine FDA approved?
Yes, bendamustine is approved by FDA.
Q. Is bendamustine safe?
Bendamustine is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor.
Q. Does bendamustine cause hair loss/constipation?
Yes, hair loss and constipation are the common side effects of bendamustine.
Q. How does bendamustine work?
Bendamustine works by destroying the DNA, thus killing the existing cancer cells and also preventing the growth and spread of new cancer cells.
Q. Does bendamustine cross blood brain barrier?
Yes, bendamustine crosses the blood brain barrier, and may be used to treat cancers spread to the brain.
Q. Is bendamustine a mustard gas?
Bendamustine belongs to a group of chemotherapeutic drugs called nitrogen mustard, and is not a mustard gas.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)