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Cladribine

IMPORTANT WARNING:

Cladribine can cause a decrease in the number of blood cells in your bone marrow. Cladribine also can cause neurological and kidney damage. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: tingling of the hands or feet, mental confusion, or loss of coordination. Your doctor will order tests before, during, and after your treatment to see if your blood cells are affected by this drug.

About your treatment

Your doctor has ordered the drug cladrabine to help treat your illness. The drug is given by injection into a vein.

This medication is used to treat:

  • hairy cell leukemia (leukemic reticuloendotheliosis)

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Cladribine is in a class of drugs known as purine analogs. It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.

Precautions

Before taking cladribine,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to cladribine or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially aspirin and vitamins.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease.
  • you should know that cladribine may interfere with the normal menstrual cycle (period) in women and may stop sperm production in men. However, you should not assume that you cannot get pregnant or that you cannot get someone else pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should tell their doctors before they begin taking this drug. You should not plan to have children while receiving chemotherapy or for a while after treatments. (Talk to your doctor for further details.) Use a reliable method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. Cladribine may harm the fetus.
  • do not have any vaccinations (e.g., measles or flu shots) without talking to your doctor.

Side effects

Side effects from cladribine are common, and include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain or pain in the trunk
  • aches in the muscles or joints
  • headache
  • trouble sleeping

Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms is severe or lasts for several hours:

  • mouth blistering
  • fatigue

If you experience any of the following symptoms, or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
  • change in normal bowel habits for more than 2 days
  • fever
  • chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath
  • severe exhaustion

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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