Cladribine (Generic Name)

Other Names: Leustatin®, 2-CdA

About This Drug

Cladribine is used to treat cancer. This drug is given intravenously (IV).

Possible Side Effects

  • Allergic reactions to this drug are rare, but may occur in some patients. Signs of allergic reaction are shortness of breath, rash or itching, dizziness or lightheadedness, or palpitations (feeling your heart beat rapidly).
  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may increase your risk of infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
  • With high doses, a fever may occur.
  • Skin and tissue irritation. You may have redness, pain, and burning at the IV site.
  • Mild nausea
  • Headache
  • Raised, red rash on your arms, legs, back, or chest
  • Decreased appetite
  • Constipation
  • This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.

Treating Side Effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medication that is available to help prevent or lessen nausea and vomiting.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.
  • Do not put anything on your rash unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry.
  • Be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.
  • Use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of cladribine and any food. This drug may interact with other medications. Tell your doctor and pharmacist all the medications that you are currently taking.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Temperature of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash or itching
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
  • Chest pain
  • Redness, pain, warmth, or burning at the IV site

 

Notify your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea unrelieved by prescribed medication
  • Headache unrelieved by prescribed medication
  • Persistent loss of appetite or loss of five pounds or more in one week
  • Rash that is bothersome

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