Generic Name: Leunase Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.


What is Leunase® (Asparaginase) used for?

Asparaginase is an antineoplastic agent. It works by decreasing the amount of asparagine in the body, which kills certain leukemia cells. Leunase® is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in certain patients. It is used along with other cancer medicines.

How should I take Leunase® (Asparaginase)?

Asparaginase is given as an injection at your doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic.

How do I store Leunase® (Asparaginase)?

Leunase® is best stored in the refrigerator. To prevent drug damage, do not freeze. There may be different brands of Leunase® 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 Leunase® 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 Leunase® (Asparaginase)?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • You are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement.
  • You have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances.
  • You have recently received or are undergoing radiation therapy.
  • You take asparaginase before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.

Also, while using this drug, you should notice that:

  • Do not receive a live vaccine (e.g., measles, mumps) while you are taking asparaginase. The risk of live vaccine–induced adverse reactions may be increased by coadministration of asparaginase. Use of live vaccines in patients receiving asparaginase should be deferred.
  • Serious bleeding and blood clots have been reported with the use of asparaginase and other similar medicines. Contact your doctor right away if you experience calf, leg, or arm pain, swelling, redness, or tenderness; chest pain; coughing up blood; one-sided weakness; shortness of breath; slurred speech; unusual bruising or bleeding; or vision problems.
  • Asparaginase may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Diabetes patients – Asparaginase may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Lab tests may be performed while you use asparaginase. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Leunase® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Leunase®. Leunase® is pregnancy risk category C, 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 Leunase® (Asparaginase)?

Side effects can occur when using this drug, such as:

Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:

  • Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue)
  • Calf, leg, or arm pain, swelling, redness, or tenderness
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • One-sided weakness
  • Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Symptoms of high blood sugar (e.g., increased thirst, hunger, or urination; drowsiness; flushing; rapid breathing; fruit-like breath odor)
  • Symptoms of pancreatitis (e.g., severe stomach or back pain with or without nausea or vomiting)
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Vision problems
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes

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.


What drugs may interact with Leunase® (Asparaginase)?

Leunase® 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.

Products may interact with this drug, such as:

  • Anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin)
  • Aspirin
  • Dipyridamole
  • Heparin
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Does food or alcohol interact with Leunase® (Asparaginase)?

Leunase® 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 Leunase® (Asparaginase)?

Leunase® 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.

These health conditions are:

  • Liver problems
  • Bone marrow problems
  • Diabetes
  • High blood sugar
  • An infection
  • A history of bleeding problems
  • Blood clots
  • Pancreatitis


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Leunase® (Asparaginase).

What is the dose of Leunase® (Asparaginase) for an adult?

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

The recommended dose is IM or IV 6,000 units/m 2 three times weekly.

Erwinaze to substitute for a dose of pegaspargase

The recommended dose is IM 25,000 units/m 2 three times a week for 6 doses for each planned dose of pegaspargase.

To substitute for a dose of native E. coli asparaginase

The recommended dose is IM 25,000 units/m 2 for each scheduled dose of native E. coli asparaginase within a treatment.

What is the dose of Leunase® (Asparaginase) for a child?

Children elspar younger than 16 years old

The recommended dose is IM 6,000 units/m 2 three times a week for a total of 9 doses.

Erwinaze 2 to 18 years old to substitute for a dose of pegaspargase

The recommended dose is IM 25,000 units/m 2 three times a week for 6 doses for each planned dose of pegaspargase.

How is Leunase® (Asparaginase) available?

Leunase® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Injection 10000KU

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 asparaginase, contact your doctor right away.

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

Review Date: February 10, 2017 | Last Modified: February 10, 2017

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