Infusion reactions are common after high-dose carmustine in BEAM chemotherapy and are not reduced by lengthening the time of administration
We describe seven patients who developed symptoms including severe headache, circumoral paresthesia, and facial flushing during high-dose carmustine (BCNU) infusion as part of the preparative regimen for autologous peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) transplantation for metastatic breast cancer. Five patients responded to pain medications, including partial and complete opiate receptor agonists. Premedication of subsequent doses of BCNU with corticosteroids, pain medications, or benzodiazepines lessened, but did not prevent the same symptoms from recurring. The incidence and mechanism of this toxicity are unknown, but this adverse syndrome should be considered when administering high-dose BCNU infusions.