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A chemotherapeutic agent, used to treat Kaposi's sarcoma, cancer, and persistent warts, among other things.

Bleomycin causes lung damage, so I think it was one of the drugs that Lance Armstrong didn't use for his chemotherapy, because he didn't want to compromise his athletic ability.

It's a drug, but not the pleasant kind. It's a poison. It just kills cancer and warts a little faster than the rest of you.

Bleomycin (blee-oh-MYE-sin), an antibiotic, is used for its cancer-fighting properties to treat:

For use in chemotherapy, it is usually administered intravenously or through an intramuscular injection.

In some cases, bleomycin can cause severe lung problems (symptoms to watch out for: breathing discomfort, shortness of breath, wheezing, fever, or chills). Smokers and the elderly are particularly susceptible to this sort of problem.

Bleomycin may also interfere with the menstrual cycle in women and stop sperm production in men. However, you should not assume that you cannot get pregnant or that you cannot get someone else pregnant while being treated with bleomycin. Use a reliable form of birth control. Getting pregnant while receiving any type of chemotherapy is not recommended, as chemotherapy is not good for a fetus.

Side effects from bleomycin are common and include:

Skin reactions such as itching, tenderness, redness, or swelling may indicate an allergy and should be reported to a doctor immediately.

Bleomycin can also be used to treat warts (verruca vulgaris). When used in this way, it is injected directly into the wart, in much smaller amounts than would be used in chemotherapy. It is not usually the first line of treatment for warts, mostly because it is expensive compared to other methods of wart removal and because the procedure of injecting it into the wart is extremely painful for the patient. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it has resulted in more than a few dermatologists being kicked in the face while working on people's feet.

It is, however, extremely effective. Warts injected with bleomycin turn black and peel off over the course of several weeks. In the case of large warts, a second treatment may be necessary. Bleomycin should not be used to remove warts on children or on pregnant women. Although the amount used for wart removal is very small, it is still extremely toxic stuff.

Bleomycin may cause circulation problems in fingers or toes treated for warts. Because it is injected directly into the wart, it does not cause hair loss, lung problems, or any of the other side effects which are common with chemotherapy. As with intravenous administration, itching or rash should be reported because it may indicate an allergy.


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