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Common Brand Name(s): Fludara
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 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 right away if you develop easy bleeding/bruising, unusual tiredness, fast/pounding heartbeat, yellowing eyes/skin, red/brown urine, pale/bluish skin, or signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills).
Fludarabine may rarely cause severe (sometimes fatal) central nervous system problems. Symptoms may not occur until weeks after your last treatment. Tell your doctor right away 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 used to treat leukemia. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking fludarabine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once a day for 5 days in a row. This 5-day cycle may be repeated after 28 days, usually for up to 6 cycles. Swallow the tablet(s) whole with a glass of water. Do not break, crush, or chew the tablets.
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.
Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and the risk of serious side effects may be increased.
Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets.
See also Warning section.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, 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 last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Many people using this medication may have serious side effects. However, you have been prescribed this drug because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
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.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
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, 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:
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
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:
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 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.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
Tell your health care professional that you are using fludarabine before having any immunizations/vaccinations. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
Fludarabine can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. 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.
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.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication. Before receiving any blood transfusions, tell your doctor that you are taking/have taken fludarabine.
Older adults may be at greater risk for side effects (such as infection, bleeding) while using this drug.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using fludarabine. Fludarabine may harm an unborn baby. Men and women using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 6 months after the last dose. If you or your partner becomes pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
It is unknown if this medication 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 are:
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 81-162 milligrams a day). Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
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. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count, kidney function) should be done while you are taking this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Store in the original package at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not open protective package until ready to use. Do not freeze. Do not store in the bathroom. 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 2023.
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