What is fludarabine?
Fludarabine is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Fludarabine is used to treat B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Fludarabine is usually given after other cancer medications have been tried without successful response to treatment.
Fludarabine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to fludarabine, or if you are also being treated with a cancer medicine called pentostatin (Nipent).
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely receive fludarabine:
- kidney disease;
- bone marrow problems or a weak immune system;
- any active infection;
- a history of skin cancer; or
- a history of a viral infection such as herpes zoster (shingles), Epstein-Barr, or a virus affecting the central nervous system.
FDA pregnancy category D. Fludarabine can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not receive fludarabine without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.
Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are receiving fludarabine, whether you are a man or a woman. Fludarabine use by either parent may cause birth defects. Tell your doctor if a pregnancy occurs during treatment with fludarabine.
It is not known whether fludarabine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not receive this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not receive a "live” vaccine while you are being treated with fludarabine, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you.
Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have received too much of this medication.
Overdose symptoms may include fever, cough, trouble breathing, easy bruising or bleeding, weakness, vision problems, behavior changes, or some of the other serious side effects listed in this medication guide.
Contact your doctor if you miss an appointment for your fludarabine injection.
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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, mouth sores, or unusual weakness;
- pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine;
- cough with yellow or green mucus, stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath;
- black, bloody, or tarry stools, coughing up blood;
- lower back pain, blood in your urine;
- urinating less than usual or not at all;
- numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth, fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting;
- muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction, overactive reflexes;
- drowsiness, mood changes, increased thirst, swelling, rapid weight gain;
- vision problems, headache or pain behind your eyes, changes in behavior, confusion, agitation, seizure (convulsions); or
- severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash.
Less serious side effects may include:
- mild nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea;
- mild itching or skin rash;
- muscle pain; or
- tired feeling.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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There may be other drugs that can interact with fludarabine. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Fludara and fludarabine
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