Generic Name: Cytarabine Brand Name(s): Cytarabine. Avability: Rx Pregnancy Category: D

Uses

What is Cytarabine used for?

Cytarabine is used alone or with other medications to treat various types of cancer. It is a chemotherapy drug that works by slowing or stopping cancer cell growth.

How should I take Cytarabine?

This medication is usually given by injection into a vein by a health care professional. It may also be given by other methods of injection depending upon your medical condition. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to therapy.

Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, drink plenty of fluids while using this medication. This helps your kidneys remove the drug from your body and may help you avoid some of the side effects.

How do I store Cytarabine?

Cytarabine is best stored at 20°C to 25°C. Protect from light. Retain in carton until time of use.

To prevent drug damage, you should not store Cytarabine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Cytarabine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Cytarabine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Cytarabine?

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: decreased bone marrow function/blood cell disorders (e.g., anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia), liver disease, kidney disease, gout.

Cytarabine can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Therefore, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.

This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby, especially in the first 3 months of pregnancy. Discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) with your doctor.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Cytarabine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Cytarabine. Cytarabine is pregnancy risk category D according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Cytarabine?

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and pain/swelling/redness at the injection site may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, drug therapy may be needed to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Not eating before your treatment may help relieve vomiting. Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fever with body aches, muscle/bone pain, chest pain, eye redness/itching/pain, painful/difficult swallowing, anal sores, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine), painful/difficult urination, joint/side/back pain, pain/redness/swelling of the arms/legs/feet, numbness or tingling of hands/feet, freckling, big toe pain, trouble breathing, black/bloody stools, blood in the urine, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, vision problems (including blindness), mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion), unexplained drowsiness, unconsciousness, enlarged abdomen, trouble walking, muscle weakness, loss of coordination, inability to move (paralysis), seizures.

This medication can lower the body’s ability to fight an infection. Notify your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills, unusual cough, or persistent sore throat.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Cytarabine?

Some products that may interact with this drug include: digoxin, flucytosine, gentamicin.

Cytarabine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Cytarabine?

Cytarabine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Cytarabine?

Cytarabine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Cytarabine.

What is the dose of Cytarabine for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Acute Nonlymphocytic Leukemia

Induction as part of combination chemotherapy:

100 mg/m2/day by continuous IV infusion (Days 1 through 7) or 100 mg/m2 IV every 12 hours (Days 1 through 7)

Use: Acute lymphocytic leukemia

Usual Adult Dose for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

The literature and/or local protocol should be consulted.

Use: Acute lymphocytic leukemia

Usual Adult Dose for Meningeal Leukemia

The dose ranges from 5 mg/m2 to 75 mg/m2 intrathecally once a day for 4 days to once every 4 days (30 mg/m2 every 4 days until cerebrospinal fluid findings are normal, followed by one additional treatment is the most frequently used dose)

Comments:

-Only the preservative free formulation of this drug should be administered intrathecally.

Use: Meningeal leukemia

What is the dose of Cytarabine for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Acute Nonlymphocytic Leukemia

Induction as part of combination chemotherapy:

100 mg/m2/day by continuous IV infusion (Days 1 through 7) or 100 mg/m2 IV every 12 hours (Days 1 through 7)

Comments:

-Children appear to tolerate higher doses of this drug than adults, and where the range of doses is given, children should receive the higher dose.

Use: Acute lymphocytic leukemia

Usual Pediatric Dose for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

The literature and/or local protocol should be consulted.

Use: Acute lymphocytic leukemia

Usual Pediatric Dose for Meningeal Leukemia

The dose ranges from 5 mg/m2 to 75 mg/m2 intrathecally once a day for 4 days to once every 4 days (30 mg/m2 every 4 days until cerebrospinal fluid findings are normal, followed by one additional treatment is the most frequently used dose)

Comments:

-Children appear to tolerate higher doses of this drug than adults, and where the range of doses is given, children should receive the higher dose.

-Only the preservative free formulation of this drug should be administered intrathecally.

Use: Meningeal leukemia

How is Cytarabine available?

Cytarabine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Injectable powder for injection,
  • Injectable solution.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Cytarabine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: September 2, 2018 | Last Modified: September 2, 2018

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