This medication may cause certain severe blood and bone marrow problems (low red blood cells/white blood cells/platelets, hemolytic anemia). These problems can decrease your body's ability to prevent/stop bleeding, fight infection, or carry enough oxygen in your blood. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop easy bleeding/bruising, unusual tiredness, fast/pounding heartbeat, pale/bluish skin color, or signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat).
Fludarabine may rarely cause severe (sometimes fatal) central nervous system problems. Symptoms may not occur until weeks after your last treatment. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any vision changes, seizures, agitation, confusion, or numbness/tingling.
Do not use fludarabine with pentostatin (deoxycoformycin). Use of these 2 medications together has caused fatal lung problems.
This medication is given by injection into a vein over 30 minutes by a health care professional. It is usually given once a day for 5 days or as directed by your doctor.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment. Your doctor will check your blood counts to make sure you can receive your next cycle. Keep all medical/lab appointments.
If this medication touches your skin, immediately wash the area well with soap and water. If this medication gets in your eye, open the eyelid and flush with water, then seek immediate medical attention.
See also Warning section.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and pain/redness at the injection site may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Many people using this medication may have serious side effects. However, 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. To lower your risk of serious side effects, your doctor will follow your condition closely and order lab tests.
Pain or sores in the mouth and throat may occur. Brush your teeth gently/carefully, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water mixed with baking soda or salt. It may also be best to eat soft, moist foods.
This medication affects your blood cells, reducing your ability to fight infections. Although fever and chills are common side effects of fludarabine, they may also be signs of an infection. Tell your doctor if you develop chills or fever.
Fludarabine sometimes causes side effects due to the rapid destruction of cancer cells (tumor lysis syndrome). To lower your risk, drink plenty of fluids unless your doctor directs you otherwise. Also, your doctor may prescribe an additional medication. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: low back/side pain (flank pain), pink/bloody urine, change in the amount of urine, painful urination, muscle spasms/weakness.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: 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 -
Before using fludarabine, 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.
To lower your chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be at greater risk for side effects (e.g., infection, bleeding) while using this drug.
This drug is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm the unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. To avoid pregnancy, both males and females using this drug should use reliable form(s) of birth control (e.g., birth control pills, condoms) during treatment and for 6 months after treatment has ended. Consult your doctor for details and to discuss effective forms of birth control.
It is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk. However, it may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Therefore, breast-feeding while using this medication 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: "blood thinners" (e.g., warfarin, enoxaparin), live vaccines (e.g., flu vaccine inhaled through the nose, typhoid/polio vaccine taken by mouth), pentostatin, other drugs that weaken the immune system/increase the risk of infection (such as natalizumab, rituximab), salicylates/NSAIDs (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen).
Check all prescription and nonprescription medicine labels carefully since many contain pain relievers/fever reducers (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin) that can increase your risk of bleeding. Low-dose aspirin should be continued if prescribed by your doctor for heart attack or stroke prevention (usually at dosages of 81-325 milligrams a day). Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. 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 (e.g., complete blood count) 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 immediately 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.
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 March 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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