Common Brand Name(s): Cytosar
Important: How To Use This Information
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
This medication may cause serious (rarely fatal) blood disorders (bone marrow suppression leading to anemia, low number of white blood cells and platelets). Liver problems may also occur. Your doctor will monitor you closely for these side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you develop any signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat), unusual fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin, or mouth sores.
Cytarabine is used to treat various types of cancer. It is a chemotherapy drug that works by slowing or stopping cancer cell growth.
How To Use
This medication is usually given by injection into a vein by a health care professional. It may also be given by other methods of injection depending upon your medical condition. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to therapy.
Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, drink plenty of fluids while using this medication. This helps your kidneys remove the drug from your body and may help you avoid some of the side effects.
See also the Warning section.
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and pain/swelling/redness at the injection site may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, drug therapy may be needed to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Not eating before your treatment may help relieve vomiting. Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- fever with body aches
- muscle/bone pain
- chest pain
- eye redness/itching/pain
- painful/difficult swallowing
- anal sores
- signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine)
- painful/difficult urination
- joint/side/back pain
- pain/redness/swelling of the arms/legs/feet
- numbness or tingling of hands/feet
- big toe pain
- trouble breathing
- black/bloody stools
- blood in the urine
- vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- vision problems (including blindness)
- mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion)
- unexplained drowsiness
- enlarged abdomen
- trouble walking
- muscle weakness
- loss of coordination
- inability to move (paralysis)
This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection. Notify your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills, unusual cough, or persistent sore throat.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using cytarabine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- decreased bone marrow function/blood cell disorders (e.g., anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia)
- liver disease
- kidney disease
Cytarabine can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Therefore, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby, especially in the first 3 months of pregnancy. Discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) with your doctor.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include confusion, mental/mood changes.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as complete blood counts, liver/kidney function, uric acid levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist right away to establish a new dosing schedule.
Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised February 2019.
Copyright(c) 2019 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.