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cytarabine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving cytarabine (Cytosar-U, Tarabine PFS)?

Cytarabine can cause serious side effects on your brain or central nervous system that may not be reversible. Cytarabine is usually given together with a steroid medication to help lessen these side effects. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to cytarabine.

To make sure you can safely receive cytarabine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder; or
  • a history of head injury or brain tumor.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not receive cytarabine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether cytarabine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are receiving cytarabine.

How is cytarabine given (Cytosar-U, Tarabine PFS)?

Cytarabine is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein, under the skin, or into the space around the spinal cord. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting.

Cytarabine is usually given once every 2 to 4 weeks. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when cytarabine is injected.

After receiving an injection in the space around your spinal cord, you will need to lie flat for at least 1 hour. You will be watched closely during this time to make sure you do not have serious side effects.

Cytarabine can lower 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. Your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

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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