Oncovin®, Vincasar® (There may be other names for this medication.)
How is Vincristine Administered?
Your medicine will be given by injection into a vein (intravenous or IV).
Why Is Vincristine Used?
How Does it Work?
Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Both normal and cancer cells go through cycles of resting, growing and division (reproduction) phases. Your chemotherapy (chemo) schedule is based upon your type of cancer, how fast they grow and reproduce, and the phases when each drug is the most effective. This is why chemo is typically given in cycles.
Vincristine is a type of plant alkaloid called a vinca alkaloid. It attacks structures inside the cells that are needed for reproduction. If the cells are unable to divide, they die. The faster cells are dividing, the more likely it is that chemo will damage/kill the cells. Chemo, unfortunately, does not know the difference between cancer cells and normal cells that reproduce quickly. This means chemo medications may affect the cells that line your digestive tract (mouth, stomach, and intestines), hair follicles, and bone marrow.
These normal cells will eventually grow back and be healthy. During treatment, however, you may experience side effects from the chemo’s effects on these cells. (See sections on side effects and how to manage them.)