Fludarabine injection must be given under the supervision of a doctor who is experienced in giving chemotherapy medications for cancer.
Fludarabine injection can cause a decrease in the number of blood cells made by your bone marrow. This decrease may cause you to develop dangerous symptoms and may increase your risk of having a serious or life-threatening infection. Your doctor may prescribe other medications to decrease the risk that you will develop a severe infection during your treatment. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a low number of any type of blood cells in your blood or any condition that affects your immune system and if you have ever developed an infection because your blood cell levels were too low. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: shortness of breath; fast heartbeat; headache; dizziness; pale skin; extreme tiredness; unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry, or bloody stool; vomit that is bloody or that looks like coffee grounds; and fever, chills, cough, sore throat, difficult, painful, or frequent urination, or other signs of infection.
Fludarabine injection can also cause damage to the nervous system . If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: seizures, agitation, confusion, and coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time).
Fludarabine injection may cause serious or life-threatening conditions in which the body attacks and destroys its own blood cells. Tell your doctor if you have ever developed this type of condition after receiving fludarabine in the past. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: dark urine, yellow skin, tiny red or purple dots on the skin, nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding, blood in the urine, coughing up blood, or difficulty breathing due to bleeding in the throat.
In a clinical study, people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who used fludarabine injection along with pentostatin (Nipent) were at high risk of developing serious lung damage. In some cases, this lung damage caused death. Therefore, your doctor will not prescribe fludarabine injection to be given along with pentostatin (Nipent).
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to fludarabine injection.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving fludarabine injection.
Fludarabine injection is used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL; a type of cancer of the white blood cells) in adults who have already been treated with at least one other medication and have not gotten better. Fludarabine injection is in a class of medications called purine analogs. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.
Fludarabine injection comes as a powder to be added to fluid and injected over 30 minutes intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a medical office or hospital outpatient clinic. It is usually injected once a day for 5 days in a row. This treatment period is called a cycle, and the cycle may be repeated every 28 days for several cycles.
Your doctor may need to delay your treatment or adjust your dose if you experience certain side effects. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment with fludarabine injection.
Fludarabine injection is also sometimes used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL; cancer that begins in a type of white blood cell that normally fights infection) and mycosis fungoides (a type of lymphoma that affects the skin). 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
numbness, burning, pain, or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
muscle or joint pain
chest pain or discomfort
fast or irregular heartbeat
pain along the side of the body
swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
difficulty breathing or swallowing
peeling or blistering skin
Fludarabine injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving 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.
unusual bruising or bleeding
fever, chills, cough, sore throat, or other signs of infection
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about fludarabine injection.
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 - 07/01/2009
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2013. 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.