Clofarabine is used to treat a certain type of cancer (acute lymphoblastic leukemia-ALL) in children and young adults ages 1 to 21 whose cancer has not been successfully treated by at least 2 other treatments. It works by stopping the growth of cancer cells.
This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional.
Drink plenty of fluids to prevent serious problems due to a loss of too much body water (dehydration).
Dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment. This medication is usually given over 2 hours once a day for 5 days in a row or as directed by your doctor. A 5-day course of this medication is called a cycle. This cycle is repeated every 2 to 6 weeks depending on your response.
Avoid getting the medication on the skin or in the eyes, mouth, or nose. If you do get the medication in those areas, flush with plenty of water and tell your doctor right away.
Pain at the injection site, tiredness, flushing, headache, lightheadedness, drowsiness, back pain, diarrhea, 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.
Treatment with clofarabine may sometimes cause your hands/feet to develop a skin reaction called hand-foot syndrome (palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia). You can prevent or reduce these problems by protecting your hands and feet from a great deal of heat or pressure. Avoid unnecessary exposure to heat (e.g., hot dishwater, long hot baths). Avoid pressure on elbows, knees, and soles of feet (e.g., leaning on elbows, kneeling, taking long walks). Wear loose clothing. Depending on how severe your hand-foot syndrome is, your doctor may prescribe a medication to reduce the symptoms or decrease/delay your next dose of clofarabine. If you experience pain/swelling/redness, blisters, or numbness of the hands/feet that affects your usual activities, tell your doctor right away.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: easy bleeding/bruising, muscle/joint pain, swelling feet/ankles, mental/mood changes (e.g., anxiety, depression), dark urine, yellowing skin/eyes, fast/difficult breathing, fast heartbeat.
This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills, or persistent sore throat.
This medication may rarely cause a serious bowel infection (enterocolitis). This infection is more likely to occur within 30 days of treatment and when clofarabine is used with other medications to treat cancer. Tell your doctor right away if you develop: persistent diarrhea, abdominal or stomach pain/cramping, mucus in your stool.
Clofarabine sometimes causes side effects due to the rapid destruction of cancer cells (tumor lysis syndrome). To lower your risk, your doctor may add a medication and tell you to drink plenty of fluids. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: low back/side pain (flank pain), signs of kidney problems (such as painful urination, pink/bloody urine, change in the amount of urine), muscle spasms/weakness.
This drug may rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) bleeding in the brain or lungs, or bleeding from the stomach or intestines. If you notice any of the following unlikely but serious side effects, get medical help right away: dizziness/fainting, sudden vision changes, persistent nausea, seizures, confusion, trouble breathing, black/bloody stools, vomit that contains blood or looks like coffee grounds.
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 -
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 clofarabine, 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: blood disorders (e.g., bone marrow suppression), kidney disease, liver disease, recent/current infections.
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 or 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.
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 right away. Males and females must use reliable forms of birth control (e.g., condoms and birth control pills) during treatment with this drug. Talk with your doctor about effective 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.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: live vaccines (e.g., flu vaccine inhaled through the nose, typhoid/polio vaccine taken by mouth).
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.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood counts, kidney function, liver function, bilirubin blood levels, blood pressure, lung function) 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.
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Information last revised July 2016. Copyright(c) 2016 First Databank, Inc.
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