Azacitidine (Injection)

Introduction

Azacitidine (ay-za-SYE-ti-deen)

Treats a bone marrow disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Brand Name(s)

Vidaza

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to azacitidine or mannitol. You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant, or if you have advanced liver cancer.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin or into a vein.
  • You may also receive medicines to help prevent nausea and vomiting.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you receive your treatments at a clinic, your medicine will be kept there.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Tell your doctor if you have ever been treated with steroids, chemotherapy, or radiation for cancer.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • This medicine can cause birth defects if it is used by the mother while she is pregnant or by the father when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. If a pregnancy occurs while you are using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Do not breast feed while you are being given this medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have liver disease, kidney disease, or any infections.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blood in your urine or stools.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate, painful urination.
  • Chest pain.
  • Confusion, extreme tiredness, or drowsiness.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, or muscle cramps.
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Pain, redness, or swelling where the shot is given.
  • Seizures or tremors.
  • Shortness of breath, cold sweat, and bluish-colored skin.
  • Skin wound that does not heal or looks infected (red and swollen).
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, feet, or face.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or upset stomach.
  • Dry skin, skin rash or itching.
  • Headache or arm, leg, joint, or back pain.
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss.
  • Nervousness, increased sweating, depression, or trouble sleeping.
  • Tooth pain, swelling in your gums, or mouth sores.
  • Trouble swallowing

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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