Azacitidine

Adult Medication

Brand Names: US

Vidaza

Brand Names: Canada

Vidaza

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat a health problem called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

  • If you have an allergy to azacitidine or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have liver tumors.
  • If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this drug.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • This drug may have unsafe effects on the bone marrow. The bone marrow may not be able to make cells found in the blood as well as it used to for a few weeks. This may raise the chance of bleeding or infection. Talk with the doctor.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
  • If you have upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools (diarrhea), or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
  • Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with this drug may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly kidney problems have happened in people getting this drug along with other cancer drugs for other health problems. Talk with the doctor.
  • This drug may cause a bad and sometimes deadly health problem called tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). Call your doctor right away if you have a fast heartbeat or a heartbeat that does not feel normal; any passing out; trouble passing urine; muscle weakness or cramps; upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools or not able to eat; or feel sluggish.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • This drug may affect fertility. Fertility problems may lead to not being able to get pregnant or father a child. Talk with the doctor.
  • If you are a man and have sex with a female who could get pregnant, protect her from pregnancy. Use birth control that you can trust.
  • If you are a man and your sex partner is pregnant or gets pregnant at any time while you are being treated, talk with your doctor.
  • This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
  • If you are able to get pregnant, a pregnancy test will be done to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting this drug. Talk with your doctor.
  • Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking this drug.
  • If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
  • Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
  • Signs of low potassium levels like muscle pain or weakness, muscle cramps, or a heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Very bad headache.
  • Very bad irritation where the shot was given.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • A very bad skin problem (necrotizing fasciitis) has happened in people taking this drug. Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your doctor right away if your skin is warm with red or purple areas of swelling that spread quickly. Call your doctor right away if you have ulcers, blisters, black spots on the skin, or any other skin changes that concern you.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
  • Dizziness.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Irritation where the shot is given.
  • Hard stools (constipation).
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Not hungry.
  • Dry skin.
  • Nose and throat irritation.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Anxiety.
  • Belly pain.
  • Weight loss.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
  • It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin.
  • It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.
  • Other drugs may be given before this drug to help avoid side effects.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • If you need to store this drug at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date

2016-10-28

Copyright

© 2016 Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.