All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking VESANOID against the benefits they expect it will have for you. VESANOID belongs to a group of medicines called chemotherapeutic agents which works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer-causing cells. VESANOID is given to people who have acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL). This is a disease which affects the way the myelocytes grow. Myelocytes are large cells in your bone marrow from which leucocytes (white blood cells) develop. VESANOID is thought to work by stopping the growth of APL cells. VESANOID may be used whether or not you have had chemotherapy before. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why VESANOID has been prescribed for you. This medicine is available only with a doctor's prescription. Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines including any that you have bought from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop. These medicines may be affected by VESANOID, or may affect how well it works. You may need to take different amounts of your medicine or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor will advise you. Your doctor or pharmacist may have more information on medicines to avoid or to be careful with while taking VESANOID. Follow all directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist carefully. They may differ from the information contained in this leaflet. The dose is usually 8 capsules per day split into two equal doses. This depends on your condition and your weight and whether or not you are taking any other medicines. Taking your capsules at the same time each day will have the best effect. It will also help you remember when to take the capsules. Continue taking VESANOID until your doctor tells you to stop. This is usually 30 to 120 days, until the APL completely disappears. After this, you will receive a different course of chemotherapy. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to. Do not take a double dose to make up for one you have missed. This may increase the chance of you getting an unwanted side effect. Immediately telephone your doctor or pharmacist or Poisons Information Centre (Australia: telephone 13 11 26, New Zealand: telephone 0800 POISON or 0800 764 766) for advice or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much VESANOID. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. You may need urgent medical attention. You must use strict birth control for at least 1 month before you start VESANOID and for the whole time you are taking VESANOID and for at least 1 month after you finish taking VESANOID. Stop taking VESANOID immediately and tell your doctor if you do become pregnant while you are taking VESANOID. Tell your doctor if, for any reason, you have not taken your medicine exactly as prescribed. Otherwise, your doctor may think that it was not effective and change your treatment unnecessarily. Be sure to keep all of your appointments with your doctor so that your progress can be checked. Your doctor may want to check your blood pressure and do some blood and other tests from time to time to check on your progress and detect any unwanted side effects. Do not take any other medicines whether they require a prescription or not without first telling your doctor. Your ability to drive cars or operate machinery may be impaired particularly if you experience dizziness or severe headache. Disturbed night vision and other visual disturbances may occur. Patients should be sure they do not have these conditions before they drive a car or operate machinery. Wearing contact lenses during treatment with VESANOID may cause discomfort and you may temporarily need to wear glasses instead. Your skin may be more prone to sunburn while on VESANOID. Avoid excessive sun exposure and apply a sunscreen while taking VESANOID. Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking VESANOID. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not.
You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects. Stop taking VESANOID and see your doctor immediately, or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if you experience any of the following: This is not a complete list of all possible side effects. Others may occur in some people and there may be some side effects not yet known. Tell your doctor if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell, even if it is not on this list. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand anything in this list. Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them. Keep your capsules in the bottle until it is time to take them. If you take the capsules out of the bottle they may not keep well. Keep VESANOID where young children cannot reach it. A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines. If your doctor tells you to stop taking VESANOID, or the capsules have passed their expiry date, you should return any capsules remaining at the end of treatment to your specialist, GP or pharmacist.