Brand Name(s):

  • Hexalen®

Other Name(s):

  • Hexamethylmelamine


Altretamine can cause a decrease in the number of blood cells in your bone marrow. Altretamine also can cause neurotoxicity. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: tingling of the hands or feet, mental confusion, or loss of coordination. Your doctor will order tests before, during, and after your treatment to see if your blood cells are affected by this drug.

WHY is this medicine prescribed?

Your doctor has ordered the drug altretamine to help treat your illness. The drug comes in capsules and usually is taken by mouth after meals and at bedtime. Altretamine usually is taken in a repeated cycle for 14-21 days and then stopped for 14-21 days.

This medication is used to treat:

  • ovarian cancer

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Altretamine is an s-triazine derivative. It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

Before taking altretamine,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to altretamine or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially aspirin, medications for depression, other anticancer medications, and vitamins.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had seizure disorders, nervous system disease, or blood disorders.
  • you should know that altretamine may interfere with the normal menstrual cycle (period) in women and may stop sperm production in men. However, you should not assume that you cannot get pregnant or that you cannot get someone else pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should tell their doctors before they begin taking this drug. You should not plan to have children while receiving chemotherapy or for a while after treatments. (Talk to your doctor for further details.) Use a reliable method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. Altretamine may harm the fetus.
  • remember that you should not drink alcohol while taking this drug. Alcohol may cause an upset stomach, vomiting, stomach cramps, headaches, sweating, and flushing (redness of the face).
  • do not have any vaccinations (e.g., measles or flu shots) without talking to your doctor.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

Side effects from altretamine are common and include:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • weakness

Tell your doctor if the following symptom is severe or lasts for several hours:

  • fatigue

If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • dizziness
  • fever
  • chills
  • rapid heartbeat
  • fainting
  • mood changes
  • sore throat
  • skin rash

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

  • Take altretamine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Continue to take altretamine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking altretamine without talking to your doctor.

AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.