14 August 2016

Vinca alkaloids: the wonder cancer drugs

By Stella Nakakande

There is a certain group of drugs called Vinca alkaloids. These drugs are used to treat a variety of cancers. These include cancers of the blood and blood cells called leukaemias, lymphomas and others of the breast and lung cancers.

They work by inhibiting the ability of cancer cells to divide. Vinorelbine is another although this one is said to be semi-synthetic.

However, the vinca alkaloid in question is Vincamine branded as Oxybral. It is described as an alkaloid found in the leaves of Vinca minor (lesser periwinkle), comprising about 25-65 per cent of the indole alkaloids found in Vinca minor by weight. This is not common although it is said to be useful in the management of various conditions.

According to Online Pharmacy, Oxybral regulates the width of some blood vessels, also called selective vaso-regulation. It improves on the breakdown or build-up of substances in the brain also called cerebral metabolism by increasing the breakdown and utilisation of glucose. This in turn increases energy production which generally increases activity of the body. It also increased capture and utilisation of oxygen by the brain. It also improves blood flow in the blood vessels elsewhere otherwise called peripheral.

For this reason, it is given in brain disorders related to age, people with memory troubles and those with and awareness disorders. It is also recommended for those with blocked/clogged blood vessels, diabetics, and those with complications arising from high blood pressure.

When it is given, this is in most cases for those with migraines and headaches related to blood circulation. It is also given for dizziness and those that have a condition called vertigo where one feels things moving around them or they feel themselves rotating. Online Pharmacy highlights its use in other conditions arising out of faulty blood circulation whether hearing or visual disorders.
People with cancers of the brain, the pregnant or those breastfeeding are cautioned about the use of this drug. It comes in capsules, syrups and injections. The dose is as determined by one’s doctor/pharmacist who should in the first place determine if one needs this medicine or not.
The writer is a pharmacist



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