Generic Name: fludarabine (floo DAYR a been)Brand Names: Fludara
Fludarabine is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Fludarabine is used to treat B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Fludarabine is usually given after other cancer medications have been tried without successful response to treatment.
Fludarabine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.What is the most important information I should know about Fludara (fludarabine)?Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
Before you receive fludarabine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, bone marrow problems or a weak immune system, any active infection, a history of skin cancer, or a history of a viral infection such as herpes zoster (shingles), Epstein-Barr, or a virus affecting the central nervous system.If you need to have a blood transfusion, tell your caregivers ahead of time that you are being treated with fludarabine.
Fludarabine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.Do not receive a "live" vaccine while you are being treated with fludarabine, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you.
Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, mouth sores, or unusual weakness.What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before I receive Fludara (fludarabine)?You should not use this medication if you are allergic to fludarabine, or if you are also being treated with a cancer medicine called pentostatin (Nipent).
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely receive fludarabine:
bone marrow problems or a weak immune system;
any active infection;
a history of skin cancer; or
a history of a viral infection such as herpes zoster (shingles), Epstein-Barr, or a virus affecting the central nervous system.
Fludarabine is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and can take about 30 minutes to complete.
Fludarabine is usually given daily for 5 days in a row every 28 days. Once your body has responded well to the medication, your doctor may recommend additional treatment cycles.Fludarabine can be harmful if it gets in your eyes, mouth, or nose, or on your skin. If skin contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water or rinse the eyes thoroughly with plain water.
Fludarabine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.If you need to have a blood transfusion, tell your caregivers ahead of time that you are being treated with fludarabine.
Contact your doctor if you miss an appointment for your fludarabine injection.
Overdose symptoms may include fever, cough, trouble breathing, easy bruising or bleeding, weakness, vision problems, behavior changes, or some of the other serious side effects listed in this medication guide.
Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, mouth sores, or unusual weakness;
pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine;
cough with yellow or green mucus, stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath;
black, bloody, or tarry stools, coughing up blood;
lower back pain, blood in your urine;
urinating less than usual or not at all;
numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth, fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting;
muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction, overactive reflexes;
drowsiness, mood changes, increased thirst, swelling, rapid weight gain;
vision problems, headache or pain behind your eyes, changes in behavior, confusion, agitation, seizure (convulsions); or
severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash.
Less serious side effects may include:
mild nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea;
mild itching or skin rash;
muscle pain; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
There may be other drugs that can interact with fludarabine. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.