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Another commonly used name is PEG- L -asparaginase.
Pegaspargase (peg-AS-par-jase ) belongs to the general group of medicines known as antineoplastics. It is used to treat some kinds of cancer.
Pegaspargase seems to interfere with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells also may be affected by pegaspargase, other effects also occur. Some of these effects may be serious and must be reported to your doctor.
Before you begin treatment with pegaspargase, you and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of using it.
Pegaspargase is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor. It is available in the following dosage form:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For pegaspargase, the following should be considered:
Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to pegaspargase.
Pregnancy- Pegaspargase has not been studied in pregnant women or animals; however, many cancer medicines may cause sterility that could be permanent. Although sterility has not been reported with pegaspargase, the possibility of this effect in humans should be kept in mind. Cancer medicines may also cause birth defects; therefore, use during pregnancy is not recommended.
Be sure you have discussed this with your doctor before receiving this medicine. It is best to use some kind of birth control while you are receiving pegaspargase. Tell your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant while receiving pegaspargase.
Breast-feeding- Because pegaspargase may cause serious side effects, breast-feeding is generally not recommended while you are receiving it.
Children- Infants up to 1 year of age-Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Children 1 year of age and older-This medicine has been studied in children 1 year of age and older and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults. In fact, the side effects of this medicine seem to be less severe in children than in adults.
Older adults- There is no specific information comparing the use of pegaspargase in the elderly with use in other age groups. Safety and efficacy of pegaspargase in the elderly have not been established.
Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking pegaspargase, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:
Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of pegaspargase. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Pegaspargase sometimes is given together with certain other medicines. If you are using a combination of medicines, it is important that you receive each one at the proper time. If you are taking some of these medicines by mouth, ask your health care professional to help you plan a way to take them at the right times.
While you are receiving pegaspargase, your doctor may want you to drink extra fluids so that you will pass more urine. This will help prevent kidney problems and keep your kidneys working well.
This medicine often causes nausea and vomiting. However, it is very important that you continue to receive the medicine, even if you begin to feel ill. Ask your health care professional for ways to lessen these effects, especially if they are severe.
The dose of pegaspargase will be different for different patients. The dose that is used may depend on a number of things, including what the medicine is used for, the patient's size, and whether or not other medicines are also being taken. If you are receiving pegaspargase at home, follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . If you have any questions about the proper dose of pegaspargase, ask your doctor.
Precautions While Using This Medicine
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
While you are being treated with pegaspargase, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's approval . Pegaspargase may lower your body's resistance and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent. In addition, other persons living in your household should not take oral poliovirus vaccine, since there is a chance they could pass the poliovirus on to you. Also, avoid persons who have taken oral poliovirus vaccine. Do not get close to them, and do not stay in the same room with them for long. If you cannot take these precautions, you should consider wearing a protective face mask that covers the nose and the mouth.
Pegaspargase can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
If pegaspargase accidentally seeps out of the vein into which it is injected, it may damage some tissue and cause scarring. Tell the doctor or nurse right away if you notice redness, pain, or swelling at the place of injection .
Side Effects of This Medicine
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
After you stop using this medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends on the amount of medicine you were using and how long you used it. During this period of time check with your doctor if you notice any other side effects not listed above.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT