Cytarabine is given intravenously. Sometimes it is given as a shot under the skin or directly into the spinal fluid. It can be given in a low, average, or high dose.
How It Works
Cytarabine is classified as an antimetabolite. It kills cancer cells by interfering with the way they multiply.
Why It Is Used
How Well It Works
Cytarabine is an effective antitumor drug. But the type and extent of a cancer determines how well this drug slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.
Cytarabine is often combined with other drugs.
Cytarabine is often given with another medicine called dexamethasone. This is done to prevent a possibly fatal side effect called chemical arachnoiditis. This causes symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fever. Your doctor will watch you closely when you are given cytarabine.
Other side effects that are common with cytarabine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
You may not be able to get pregnant or father a child after taking this drug. Discuss this with your doctor before starting treatment.
Cytarabine can cause birth defects. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant or father a child while you are taking it.
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