Fludarabine, Injection


What are other names for this medicine?

Type of medicine: antineoplastic (anticancer)

Generic and brand names: fludarabine, injection; Fludara

What is this medicine used for?

This medicine is given to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia when other anticancer medicines are not effective.

This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as determined by your healthcare provider.

What should my healthcare provider know before I take this medicine?

Before taking this medicine, tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had:

  • An allergic reaction to any medicine
  • Blood disorders such as hemolytic anemia
  • Kidney disease
  • Skin cancer

Also tell your provider if you have recently had any kind of infection.

This medicine may make men sterile (unable to have children). If you plan to have children someday, talk with your healthcare provider before you start treatment.

Males and females should use reliable methods of birth control during treatment and for at least 6 months after completing treatment.

Females of childbearing age: This medicine is not usually given to pregnant women because it can harm the baby. If you are pregnant, tell your healthcare provider. Do not become pregnant during treatment with this medicine. If you become pregnant, contact your healthcare provider right away. Do not breast-feed while you are receiving this medicine.

How do I use it?

This is a very strong medicine. Only healthcare providers experienced with this drug should prescribe it. It should only be given in a clinic or hospital where you can be monitored closely. This medicine is given by injection (shots) or by IV infusions (slow drip through a needle into a large vein). How long you will need this treatment will be determined by your healthcare provider.

What should I watch out for?

You will need to have blood tests regularly to see how this medicine affects you. Keep all appointments for these tests.

If you need emergency care, surgery or dental work, tell the healthcare provider you are taking this medicine.

This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or operate machinery unless you are fully alert.

This medicine may make your mouth sore. Use a soft bristle brush or mouth swab to brush your teeth.

Do not drink alcohol or take aspirin while receiving this medicine. It may increase the risk of bleeding. Report any unusual bleeding or bruising to your healthcare provider.

You may get infections more easily when you are taking this medicine. Stay away from people with colds, flu, or other infections. Also, do not have any vaccines without getting your healthcare provider's approval first.

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its needed effects, your medicine may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the medicine. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.

Life-threatening (Report these to your healthcare provider right away. If you cannot reach your healthcare provider right away, get emergency medical care or call 911 for help.): Allergic reaction (hives; itching; rash; trouble breathing; chest pain or tightness in your chest; swelling of your lips, tongue, and throat).

Serious (report these to your healthcare provider right away): Chills; fever; extreme tiredness; seizures; unusual confusion; mouth sores; cough; sore throat; trouble breathing; chest pain; fast heartbeat; vision problems; fainting; unusual bruising and bleeding; black or tarry stools; dark or bloody urine; increased urination; tingling or pain in your arms, legs, feet, or hands; coma; loss of vision; severe blistering, peeling, or red skin.

Other: Nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; loss of appetite; confusion; stomach pain; hair loss; muscle pain; diarrhea; weakness; headache; swelling in your legs or feet.

What products might interact with this medicine?

When you take this medicine with other medicines, it can change the way this or any of the other medicines work. Nonprescription medicines, vitamins, natural remedies, and certain foods may also interact. Using these products together might cause harmful side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking:

  • Pentostatin (Nipent)
  • Immunosuppressants such as azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporine (Gengraf, Sandimmune, Neoral), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), pimecrolimus (Elidel), sirolimus (Rapamune), and tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • Live virus vaccines

If you are not sure if your medicines might interact, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Keep a list of all your medicines with you. List all the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Be sure that you tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all the products you are taking.


This advisory includes selected information only and may not include all side effects of this medicine or interactions with other medicines. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information or if you have any questions.

Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.

Do not share medicines with other people.

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