This medication is used to treat a group of blood/bone marrow disorders (myelodysplastic syndromes-MDS) in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. People with MDS usually have problems such as infections, anemia, and easy bleeding/bruising. Azacitidine is a chemotherapy drug. It is believed to work by helping your bone marrow grow normal blood cells so you will need fewer blood transfusions. Azacitidine also kills abnormal blood cells that have grown too fast and do not work properly.
If you are receiving the injection under the skin, your health care professional will change the injection site each time to lessen injury under the skin.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, laboratory test results, and response to treatment. Keep all medical/laboratory appointments.
This medication is injected once a day for 7 days in a row or as directed by your doctor. A 7-day course of this medication is called a cycle. This cycle is repeated every 4 weeks depending on your response and blood tests.
Redness/pain/bruising at the injection site, tiredness, diarrhea, dizziness, trouble sleeping, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite 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 have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: easy bleeding/bruising, chest pain, muscle/joint pain, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, swollen ankles/feet, mental/mood changes (e.g., anxiety, depression), change in the amount of urine, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. 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.
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 azacitidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as mannitol), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
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.
To lower your risk 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. 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.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Also, men using this medication should avoid causing pregnancy during treatment. It is recommended that men and women use effective forms of birth control (e.g., condoms and birth control pills) while using this medication and for some time afterward. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible 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.
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 counts-CBC, kidney function, liver function, blood bicarbonate 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 to establish a new dosing schedule.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a 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 January 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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