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Busulfan is used to treat a type of cancer called as chronic granulocyte/myeloid leukemia (increased white blood cells in the blood), polycythemia vera (increased red blood cells in the blood), thrombocythemia (increased platelets or impaired platelet function), myelofibrosis (bone marrow disorder) and prior to hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation (bone marrow transplantation).

How it works

Busulfan is an anticancer drug that belongs to a category of medicines called as alkylating agents. It acts by inducing cross-links in the DNA of cancerous cells, thereby preventing the growth and spread of cancer.

Common side effects

Nausea, Pneumonitis, Premature menopause, Liver injury, Absence of menstrual periods, Blood in urine, Dark skin patches, Diarrhoea, Difficulty in urination, Hair loss, Jaundice, Mouth ulcer, Reduced blood platelets, Severe ovarian failure, Vomiting, Suppression of spermatogenesis, Impotence, Heart beat irregular, Leukemia, Delayed puberty


No medicine available

Expert advice

  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, body aches) as busulfan can lower the ability of your blood to clot and body to fight infections.
  • Inform your doctor if you have thalassemia (abnormal hemoglobin in blood), gout (arthritis due to impaired metabolism of uric acid) or if you have had radiotherapy.
  • Do not receive live vaccine while using busulfan, and avoid contact with individuals who have recently received the same.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Common Side Effects.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Does busulfan cause hair loss?
Busulfan can cause hair loss. 
Q. Is busulfan a vesicant?
Yes. Busulfan is a vesicant (irritant).

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