Vinblastine Injection

[19 November 2014]

Products Affected - Description

Vinblastine lyophilized powder for injection, West-Ward (formerly Bedford product)
10 mg vial (NDC 55390-0091-10)

Reason for the Shortage

  • West-Ward Pharmaceuticals’ parent company, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, acquired vinblastine injection from Bedford in July 2014. West-Ward is not actively marketing vinblastine injection at this time.1
  • Fresenius Kabi (formerly APP) had their product in short supply due to increased demand for the product and a manufacturing delay.2

Available Products

Vinblastine sulfate injection, Fresenius Kabi (formerly APP)2
1 mg/mL, 10 mL vial (NDC 63323-0278-10)

Estimated Resupply Dates

All marketed presentations are currently available.

Implications for Patient Care

Vinblastine is labeled to treat a number of disease states including Hodgkin disease, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, mycosis fungoides, advanced testicular carcinoma, Kaposi sarcoma, choriocarcinoma, and breast cancer.3 Vinblastine is also used to treat non-small cell lung carcinoma, bladder cancer, and refractory idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.3


  • Chemotherapy agents, such as vinblastine, pose additional safety risks both for patients and for healthcare workers handling these agents.3,4
  • Use additional caution when processing orders for chemotherapy drugs, especially when switching between chemotherapy agents or when processing orders for chemotherapy agents with which staff may be unfamiliar (eg, those not normally prescribed at a specific institution).3,4

Alternative Agents & Management

  • The choice of an alternative agent must be patient-specific and based on renal function, liver function, and the neoplasm type and location. No single agent can be substituted for vinblastine.3-5
  • Consider evaluating the health-care system’s total supply of vinblastine before beginning patients on combination chemotherapy regimens containing vinblastine. If adequate supplies are not available, select an alternative regimen.
  • Consult a Hematology/Oncology specialist for patient- and neoplasm-specific recommendations.
  • Refer to the ASHP Guidelines on Managing Drug Product Shortages for more guidance on developing a multidisciplinary plan when the supply must be allocated.

Related Shortages


  1. West-Ward, customer service (personal communications). August 5, 2014.
  2. Fresenius Kabi, customer service (personal communications). January 11 and 12, February 8 and 22, March 20, May 7, July 9, September 5, December 4, 2012; February 28, April 16, May 29, June 18, July 2 and 11, August 9 and 30, October 22, December 6, 2013; and February 28, May 28, August 27, and November 12, 2014.
  3. Vinblastine. In.Beckwith, M. C. and L. S. Tyler, Eds. (2011). Cancer Chemotherapy Manual (eFacts). St. Louis, MO, Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.
  4. Antineoplastic agents. In: McEvoy GK, ed. AHFS 2010 Drug Information. Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists; 2010: 902-1260.
  5. Drug Facts and Comparisons Online. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc. September 2010.


Updated November 19, 2014 by Jane Chandramouli, PharmD, Drug Information Specialist. Created January 11, 2012 by Jane Chandramouli, PharmD, Drug Information Specialist. Copyright 2014, University of Utah, Drug Information Service


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