Asparaginase is used with or without other anticancer (chemotherapy) drugs to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). It works by starving tumor cells of needed nutrients and slowing tumor cell growth.
This medication is given by injection into a muscle, or under the skin, or into a vein, by a health care professional, usually in a hospital setting. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Your doctor will give you pre-medication to help prevent allergic reactions.
Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, drink plenty of fluids while using this medication.
Pain or swelling at the injection site, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, headache, lack of energy, or drowsiness may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe, and in some cases you may need anti-nausea drugs. Not eating before your treatment may help relieve nausea and vomiting. Changes in diet, such as eating several small meals, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
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 any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: severe stomach pain with nausea/vomiting, mental/mood changes, tremor, muscle stiffness, joint pain, swelling of hands/feet/lower legs, yellowing of the eyes/skin, unusual bleeding/bruising (such as nose bleeds, black or bloody stools), signs of high blood sugar (such as unusual thirst, frequent urination), change in the amount of urine.
This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection. Tell your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills, sores in mouth or on lips, or persistent sore throat.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, 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 receiving asparaginase, 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.
This drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose. Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
Use caution with sharp objects like razors or nail cutters and avoid activities such as contact sports to lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. If used in the first trimester, asparaginase may cause harm to an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away. Women of child-bearing age should use an effective form of birth control while using this medication. Discuss the risks, benefits and any other concerns with your doctor.
It is not known whether asparaginase 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.
This product can affect the results of certain lab tests. Make sure laboratory personnel and your doctors know you use this drug.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room 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.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as complete blood counts, liver function tests, amylase levels, blood sugar) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is important that you receive asparaginase as scheduled by your doctor. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor right away to obtain a new dosing schedule.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
MEDICAL ALERT: 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 October 2015. Copyright(c) 2015 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet