FLUDARABINE

Generic Name: fludarabine (floo-DAYR-a-been)

Brand Name: Fludara

Treatment of Leukemia which is unresponsive to other medications or therapy

 

How to use fludarabine:

  • Always refer to your doctors instructions before taking this medication. Duration and dosage will be determined by your medical condition and its response to the medication. Make sure to take this mediciation in the prescribed amount and time period even after symptoms disappear. Discontinuing the medication before completion of treatment may cause incomplete treatment of condition. If Symptoms persist, consult your doctor
  • Given as an injection at your doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic. Consult your doctor for more details on the usage of fludarabine
  • Minor side effects (if these symptoms persist or worsen, inform your doctor):
    • Diarrhea; general body discomfort; loss of appetite; muscle pain; nausea; tiredness; vomiting; weakness.
  • Serious side effects (inform your doctor immediately)
    • Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); abnormal thinking; black, tarry, or bloody stools; bloody or dark urine; changes in strength or the way you walk; chest pain; confusion; coughing or vomiting blood; difficult, decreased, or painful urination; fainting; hearing loss; irregular heartbeat; lower back or side pain; mental or mood changes (eg, agitation); muscle weakness or cramps; numbness or tingling in the hands or feet; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe or persistent tiredness or weakness; shortness of breath; signs of infection (eg, fever, chills, cough, or sore throat); skin changes; swelling of the fingers, hands, or feet; swelling or sores of the mouth, lips, or tongue; unusual bruising or bleeding; vision changes or blindness; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

Precautions

  • Inform your doctor
    • If you are undergoing other chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or you have received radiation or chemotherapy in the past
    • if you have developed an autoimmune reaction (eg, hemolytic anemia) after receiving fludarabine
    • if you will be having a blood transfusion
    • Allergy to the medication or any allergies
    • Medical History of bone marrow problems (eg, low blood platelet levels, anemia), blood or bleeding problems, kidney problems, immune system problems, nervous system problems, infections, skin cancer, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, or a positive Coombs test
  • Do NOT use fludarabine if:
    • you have any allergy to any ingredient in fludarabine
    • you are taking pentostatin
    • you have severely decreased kidney function
    • Contact your physician immediately if any of these apply to you.
  • May cause dizziness or drowsiness. Limit alcohol intake
  • Avoid dehydration if diarrhea or vomiting occurs. Contact your doctor for instructions.
  • Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Inform your physician if have unusual bruising or bleeding, dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections as this medication may weaken your immune system. Inform your physician if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Do not receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) during or after treatment with fludarabine. Consult with your physician before receiving any vaccine.
  • Inform your physician right away if you notice a change in the appearance of a mole, new growth on the skin, or any unusual skin change.
  • A severe and possibly fatal nervous system problem (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy [PML]) has been reported in patients who use fludarabine. This has been reported to develop between a few weeks and as long as about 1 year after starting treatment. Many of these patients were also taking other chemotherapy or had received other chemotherapy in the past. Contact your doctor right away if you develop signs of PML, such as trouble walking or talking, confusion, vision problems, or vision loss.
  • May cause infertility in men
  • Should be used with caution in elderly and children.
  • Should not be used during pregnancy as it may harm an unborn baby. If you are planning to be pregnant or think you may be pregnant, discuss the risks and benefits of use with your doctor.
  • Consult your doctor before breast-feeding as this medication passes into breast milk and may cause unwanted effects on your baby

 

Interactions

Taking multiple drugs may affect how medications work and/or cause unwanted side effects. List down all the medications you are taking and inform your physician and pharmacist. Do not take, discontinue, or alter any dose of medications without prior approval of your physician.

  • Products that may interact with this medication include:
    • Pentostatin – risk of fatal lung problems may be increased
    • Digoxin – its effectiveness may be decreased by fludarabine

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

  • If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
  • Symptoms may include bleeding; blindness; coma; infection.

Proper storage of fludarabine:

Fludarabine is usually handled and stored by a health care provider.

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