Fludarabine (By mouth)

Introduction

Fludarabine (floo-DAYR-a-been)

Treats chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). This medicine was withdrawn from the US market in September 2011.

Brand Name(s)

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 fludarabine, or if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine

Tablet

  • 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 tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to. The medicine is usually given every day for 5 days. This 5-day treatment is given again every 28 days until your body responds to the medicine.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, crush, or chew it.
  • If any of this medicine gets on your skin or in your eyes, nose, or mouth, wash it with soap and water or wash the eyes immediately with gently flowing water for at least 15 minutes. Also, check with your doctor right away if a skin reaction occurs.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor for instructions.If you vomit after taking your medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using pentostatin (Nipent®). Also, tell your doctor if you have ever been treated with radiation or other cancer medicines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Your unborn baby could be harmed if you use this medicine while you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, lung disease, infections, or bone marrow problems (such as anemia, neutropenia, or thrombocytopenia). Also, tell your doctor if you have had transfusions.
  • 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 a serious type of reaction called 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; a rapid weight gain; swelling of the feet or lower legs; or unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

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
  • Bloody or cloudy urine, pain in your side or joints.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Confusion, extreme tiredness, fainting, or trouble seeing.
  • Cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing.
  • Fever, chills, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.

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

  • Diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, or stomach pain.
  • Headache.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Rash.

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: June 18, 2013

         
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