Cytarabine (Oral Route)

1 What is Cytarabine (Oral Route)?

Brand: Cytarabine (Oral Route)

Generic: Cytarabine (Oral Route)

Cytarabine is an antimetabolite that is used to treat cancers of the blood non-Hodgkin lymphoma and including acute myeloid leukemia.

It is also indicated for the treatment of other cancers as per the physician. Its therapeutic effects come from its ability to interfere with cancer cell growth.

Unfortunately, it can also affect normal cells of the body. Because of this, you may also experience other side effects.

Some of these may be serious and need immediate medical attention. Others, on the other hand, may not need medical treatment but cause concerns, like hair loss.

As in any other medication, you and your doctor need to discuss the risks and benefits involved in cytarabine use.

A trained medical professional should administer this medication.

This drug has also been effective in other forms of cancer including brain and spinal cord cancer, as well as myelodysplastic syndromes.

2 What to Know Before Using

As previously mentioned, you and your physician must discuss the pros and cons of using cytarabine.

You need to consider various factors in order to make sure that this medication is the right fit.

If you’ve had allergic reactions to drugs similar to cytarabine, you need to inform your physician.

You must inform your healthcare team if you are allergic to any

  • food,
  • preservative,
  • dye,
  • animal,
  • other medications.

Cytarabine is expected to cause the same effects in pediatric children as in other age groups even if there is no specific information regarding this.

The effects of cytarabine in geriatric patients have not been studied specifically. It is expected to have the same effects as in younger adults.

Cytarabine has a pregnancy category D, which means studies have found that this medication puts the fetus at risk. Not enough research has been conducted on cytarabine effects during breastfeeding.

The benefits and risks of cytarabine use in pregnant and nursing women must be considered carefully.

Give your doctor a complete list of your prescription and non-prescription medications as well as vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products, because these can interact with cytarabine.

Do not get vaccinated while receiving this medication is not recommended. Digoxin, flucytosine, and gentamicin can also influence the effects of cytarabine.

Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding your diet.

Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you have the following medical conditions:

3 Proper Usage

Cytarabine can be used alone or with other medications used to treat cancer. Take your medications at the prescribed time.

If you have difficulty with this, you can ask your healthcare provider to help you devise a plan to make it easier.

You physician may also tell you to increase your fluid intake while you are on cytarabine treatment. Increasing fluid intake can prevent kidney problems since this medication is primarily excreted in the urine.

This anti-cancer drug also causes nausea and vomiting. It is essential that you do not abruptly stop cytarabine. There are ways to decrease our nausea and vomiting. Consult a healthcare professional.

The dose, timing and duration of treatment depend on your condition and how your body responds to this medication.

You should always follow your physician’s instructions.

Your doctor will also determine how often you need to take cytarabine in a day and the time interval between doses. Do not change anything about your medication routine without consulting your physician first.

4 Precautions to Take

There are precautions you need to take as well.

Cytarabine can lower your body’s ability to fight off infection. That’s why you shouldn’t get vaccinated during and a few months after treatment.

Check with your doctor before getting any vaccination.

You should also avoid contact with people who have recently been vaccinated. You can wear a protective mask if necessary.

Check with your doctor if you have symptoms of infection like

  • fever/chills,
  • coughing,
  • back/side pain,
  • difficulty urinating.

Cytarabine can decrease platelet count as well, which puts you at risk of bleeding.

Inform your physician as soon as possible if you have

  • unusual bleeding/bruising,
  • blood in urine or stools,
  • and/or pinpoint red spots on your skin.

Avoid sharp objects and strenuous activities or sports that require close contact. Do prevent gum bleeds, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and floss gently. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes.

5 Potential Side Effects

There are multiple side effects related to cytarabine therapy.

Although these are less common side effects, you should always check with your physician right away if you have

  • black/tarry stools,
  • hematuria,
  • a cough,
  • fever/chills,
  • back/side pain,
  • pinpoint red spots on your skin,
  • unusual bleeding/bruising,
  • painful urination.

Check with your healthcare provider if you have

  • mouth or lip sores,
  • joint pain,
  • numbness limbs or face,
  • swelling in the lower extremities,
  • unusual tiredness.

Rare effects include

If these get worse or do not improve, consult with your doctor right away.