Cytarabine injection must be given under the supervision of a doctor who is experienced in giving chemotherapy medications for cancer.
Cytarbine can cause a severe decrease in the number of blood cells in your bone marrow. This may cause certain symptoms and may increase the risk that you will develop a serious infection or bleeding. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: fever, sore throat, ongoing cough and congestion, or other signs of infection; unusual bleeding or bruising; black and tarry stools; red blood in stools; bloody vomit; vomited material that looks like coffee grounds.
Cytarabine is used alone or with other chemotherapy drugs to treat certain types of leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells), including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Cytarabine is also used alone or with other chemotherapy drugs to treat meningeal leukemia (cancer in the membrane that covers and protects the spinal cord and brain). Cytarabine is in a class of medications called antimetabolites. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.
Cytarabine comes as a powder to mixed with liquid to be injected intravenously (into a vein), subcutaneously (under the skin), or intrathecally (into the fluid-filled space of the spinal canal) by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility. Your doctor will tell you how often you will receive cytarabine. The schedule depends on the condition you have and on how your body responds to the medication.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Cytarabine is also sometimes used to treat certain types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (a type of cancer that begins in a type of white blood cells that normally fights infection). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
loss of appetite
sores in the mouth and throat
muscle or joint pain
sore or red eyes
ongoing pain that begins in the stomach area but may spread to the back
redness, pain, swelling, or burning at the site where the injection was given
fast or irregular heartbeat
difficulty breathing or swallowing
yellowing of the skin or eyes
dark-colored urine or decreased urination
shortness of breath
sudden change or loss of vision
numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
Cytarabine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 02/15/2012
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2015. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.