Decitabine, a hypomethylating agent, is indicated for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), where particular blood cells are dysfunctional.
It is also used to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML). You can only purchase decitabine with s doctor’s prescription.
It should be administered by a medical professional or under the supervision of one. This antineoplastic is sold in powder for reconstitution.
2 What to Know Before Using
Before you decide to use decitabine, make sure you and your physician have a comprehensive discussion about the pros and cons of this medication.
Ask for clarification if you have difficulty understanding anything about decitabine. There are several things you need to consider prior to initializing treatment.
Individuals who have had an allergic reaction to decitabine should not take this medication. You also need to inform your doctor if you have allergies to other drugs, animals, food, preservatives, and dyes.
Not enough research has been done on the efficacy and safety of decitabine in children. However, it has been found that the effects of this medication in geriatric patients are not influenced by any factor specific to the age group.
Pregnant women should not receive decitabine because it can potentially cause harm to the fetus. It is a pregnancy category D. Women should also avoid getting pregnant while on decitabine treatment.
If a pregnancy is suspected, tell your doctor immediately. It is not clear whether this medicine or its metabolites are passed in breast milk. A choice should be made either to stop breastfeeding or discontinue the medication.
The risks and benefits should be considered carefully. Drug-drug interactions can also occur. That’s why you need to give your doctor a list of your current medications.
You should not get a live rotavirus vaccine while on decitabine treatment.
Receiving the following vaccinations is usually not recommended but can be necessary at times:
Again, decitabine is an anti-cancer medication and can have serious side effects. Make sure you have a good understanding of the pros and cons before proceeding with treatment.
This medication is given intravenously, which means it is administered directly into a vein.
As mentioned earlier, medication should be given by a medical professional (nurse or doctor) in a hospital or cancer treatment center.
For the first cycle of treatment, the recommended dosage for Dacogen is 15 mg/m2 infused over three hours and repeated every eight hours for three days.
The same should be done for the next treatment cycle and repeated every six weeks.
4 Precautions to Take
Keep in touch with your physician and go to your follow-up appointments regularly. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and run tests.
This is to make sure that the decitabine is working properly and that there are no serious side effects. As previously mentioned, decitabine can harm the unborn child.
Women should not get pregnant while receiving decitabine, and men should not conceive children while in treatment and two months after the last dose.
Cancer medications can cause nausea, vomiting, and hair loss. You can ask your healthcare provider how to minimize these effects. Like other antineoplastic medicines, decitabine can decrease your white blood cell and platelet count.
This can put you at risk of infection and excessive bleeding. For bleeding precautions, you should avoid activities that can cause injuries like contact sports. Be careful around sharp objects.
You should also practice gentle oral hygiene. Notify your physician immediately if you have any unusual bleeding, bruising, tarry/black stools, red spots on the skin and blood in urine.
You also need to protect yourself against infection. Wash your hands before you touch your eyes, mouth or nose. You may need to avoid people who are currently sick.
You may also use a face mask. Inform your doctor as soon as possible if you have fevers, chills, cough, painful urination, and side/back pain.
5 Potential Side Effects
Decitabine has several associated side effects but you may not experience all of them.
The common effects that need medical attention include:
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