Health Information and Tools > Medications >  Clofarabine - Injection

Main Content

Clofarabine - Injection

Pronunciation: kloe-FAR-a-been

Common Brand Name(s): Clolar

Important: How To Use This Information

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.

Uses

Clofarabine is used to treat a certain type of cancer (acute lymphoblastic leukemia-ALL). It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

How To Use

This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional. It is given over 2 hours as directed by your doctor, usually once a day for 5 days in a row. A 5-day course of this medication is called a cycle. This cycle is repeated every 2 to 6 weeks depending on your response. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.

Drink plenty of fluids to prevent serious problems due to dehydration.

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.

Side Effects

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 last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

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.

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 (such as hot dishwater, long hot baths). Avoid pressure on elbows, knees, and soles of feet (such as 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 (such as 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 sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, or chills.

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:

  • diarrhea that doesn't stop
  • 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:

  • nausea that doesn't stop
  • dizziness/fainting
  • sudden vision changes
  • 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 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.

Precautions

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/bleeding problems
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • recent/current infections

Clofarabine can make you more likely to get infections or may make current infections worse. Stay away from anyone who has an infection that may easily spread (such as chickenpox, COVID-19, measles, flu). Talk to your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

Tell your health care professional that you are using clofarabine before having any immunizations/vaccinations. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).

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. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using clofarabine. Clofarabine may harm an unborn baby. Your doctor should order a pregnancy test before you start this medication. Women using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 6 months after the last dose. Men using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 3 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 drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug and for at least 2 weeks after the last dose is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

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.

Overdose

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.

Notes

Lab and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count, kidney/liver function, bilirubin, blood pressure, lung function) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments.

Missed Dose

It is important to get each dose of this medication as scheduled. If you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist right away for a new dosing schedule.

If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Storage

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).

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

‚Äč