Clofarabine (Injection)

Introduction

Clofarabine (kloe-FAR-a-been)

Treats a type of blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in patients from 1 to 21 years of age.

Brand Name(s)

Clolar

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to clofarabine, or if you are pregnant.

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.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins. It is usually given every day for 5 days. This 5-day treatment is given again every 2 to 6 weeks until your body responds to the medicine. Each treatment usually takes about 2 hours a day.
  • 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.

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.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

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

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or bone marrow problems (such as anemia, a low white cell count, or a low platelet cell count). Also, tell your doctor if you have had a bone marrow transplant, which may also be called a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT).
  • 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.
  • This medicine may cause you to have high amounts of uric acid in the blood or a serious type of reaction called the tumor lysis syndrome. Your doctor may give you a medicine to help prevent this. Call your doctor right away if you have a decrease or change in urine amount; joint pain, stiffness, or swelling; lower back, side, or stomach pain; rapid weight gain; swelling of the feet or lower legs; or unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly; a fast or irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath; or swelling of the hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs. These may be symptoms of rare but serious conditions called capillary leak syndrome or systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • 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
  • Anxiety, depression, or irritability.
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Chest tightness or trouble breathing.
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools.
  • Dizziness or headache.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Severe stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Swelling of your hands, ankles, feet, or face.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Warmth or redness of your face, neck, arm, or upper chest.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

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

  • Bleeding from your gums.
  • Cough.
  • Dry skin.
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, or weight loss.
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.
  • Pain or stiffness in the muscles, joints, or back.
  • Redness or rash on your skin.
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness.
  • Small cherry red spots under your skin.
  • Sore throat.

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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