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asparaginase (cont.)

What should I discuss with my health care provider before receiving asparaginase (Elspar)?

Do not receive this medication if you are allergic to asparaginase or pegaspargase (Oncaspar), or if you have a history of pancreas problems.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:

  • liver disease;
  • gout;
  • diabetes (asparaginase can raise blood sugar); or
  • if you are being treated with other cancer medications.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether asparaginase is harmful to an unborn baby. Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether asparaginase passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is asparaginase given (Elspar)?

Asparaginase is given as an injection through an IV needle placed into a vein, or as a shot into a muscle. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The IV medicine must be given slowly, and it can take up to 30 minutes to complete.

Before you receive your first treatment with this medication, you may need a skin test to make sure you are not allergic to asparaginase.

Asparaginase can lower the 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 visits to your doctor.

This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain thyroid tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are receiving asparaginase.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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