Fludarabine

Adult Medication

Brand Names: US

Fludara

Brand Names: Canada

Fludara; Fludarabine Phosphate for Injection; Fludarabine Phosphate for Injection, USP; Fludarabine Phosphate Injection, PPC STD.

Warning

  • 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.
  • This drug may sometimes cause deadly autoimmune diseases. Talk with the doctor.
  • This drug may cause very bad and sometimes deadly nervous system problems. These include loss of eyesight, confusion, and seizures. Sometimes, people have fallen into a coma. Talk with the doctor.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • Do not take this drug with pentostatin. Very bad and sometimes deadly lung problems may happen. Talk with the doctor.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat a type of leukemia.
  • 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 fludarabine 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 kidney disease.
  • If you have a type of anemia called hemolytic anemia.
  • If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
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.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert or have clear eyesight until you see how this drug affects you.
  • Skin cancer has happened during or after treatment with this drug. 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.
  • Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines while you take this drug and after you stop taking it. Vaccine use with this drug may either raise the chance of an infection or make this drug not work as well. Talk with your doctor.
  • Patients with cancer who take this drug may be at greater risk of getting 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.
  • A very bad brain problem called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) may happen with this drug. It may cause disability or death. Tell your doctor right away if you have signs like confusion, memory problems, low mood (depression), change in the way you act, change in strength on 1 side is greater than the other, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, or change in eyesight.
  • If you have taken this drug and you are getting a blood transfusion, talk with your doctor.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • This drug may affect sperm in men. This may affect being able to 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 during care and for some time after care ends. Use birth control that you can trust. Talk with your doctor to see how long to use birth control after you stop this drug.
  • If you are a man and your sex partner gets pregnant while you take this drug or within several months after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
  • This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
  • Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy during care and for some time after care ends. Talk with your doctor to see how long to use birth control after you stop this drug.
  • If you get pregnant while taking this drug or within several months after the last dose, 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.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Dark urine or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Not able to pass urine.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Feeling agitated.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • A skin lump or growth.
  • Change in color or size of a mole.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Not able to eat.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs.
  • A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.

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:
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
  • Not hungry.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Muscle pain.
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.

Tablets:

  • Take with or without food.
  • Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
  • Take with a full glass of water.
  • Talk with your doctor to find out what to do if you throw up after taking a dose of this drug.

Injection:

  • It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.

All products:

  • This drug is not taken every day. Be sure you know how to take it. Talk with your doctor if you have questions.
  • 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.

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?

Tablets:

  • Store in the original container at room temperature.
  • Do not freeze.

Injection:

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

All products:

  • 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.

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.
  • 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

2016-04-04

Copyright

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