Cytosar-U

Cytosar-U treats certain types of cancer. Tell your doctor if you are scheduled to receive a vaccine.

Cytosar-U Overview

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Cytosar-U is a prescription medication is used to treat different types of leukemia, or blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow. Cytosar-U belongs to a group of drugs called antimetabolites, which work by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

This medication is available in an injectable form to be given directly into the vein (IV) or under the skin (subcutaneously) by a healthcare professional.

Common side effects of Cytosar-U include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fever. Cytosar-U can also cause blurry vision and dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Cytosar-U affects you.

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  • Other
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Meningeal Neoplasms

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Cytosar-U Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Cytosar-U

Cytosar-U is used to treat different types of leukemia, or blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Cytosar-U Drug Class

Cytosar-U is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Cytosar-U

Common side effects of Cytosar-U include the following:

  • headache
  • confusion
  • memory loss
  • dizziness
  • general weakness
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • stomach pain
  • muscle aches
  • insomnia
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • dehydration
  • loss of appetite
  • cough
  • blurry vision
  • bleeding

This is not a complete list of Cytosar-U side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Serious side effects have been reported with Cytosar-U. See the “Drug Precautions” section.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Cytosar-U Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • gentamicin (Gentak, Genoptic)
  • digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • flucytosine (Ancobon)

This is not a complete list of Cytosar-U drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Cytosar-U Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with Cytosar-U including the following:

  • neurotoxicity. This occurs when the exposure to Cytosar-U disrupts or even kills neurons, cells that send signals in the brain and other parts of the nervous system. If patients develop neurotoxicity, future doses of Cytosar-U should be decreased, and Cytosar-U should be stopped if toxicity persists. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience any signs or symptoms of neurotoxicity:
    • limb weakness or numbness
    • memory loss
    • vision loss
    • loss of thinking capacity
    • headache
    • changes in behavior
  • lowered blood counts. This is medically known as bone marrow suppression. Your doctor will want to monitor for this, as bone marrow suppression can lead to thrombocytopenia, anemia, and leukopenia.
    • thromobocytopenia. This is a condition in which your blood has a lower than normal number of blood cell fragments called platelets. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have the following signs and symptoms of thrombocytopenia:
      • mild to serious bleeding
      • purple, brown, and red bruises (purpura)
      • small red or purple dots on your skin (petechiae)
      • prolonged bleeding, even from minor cuts
      • bleeding or oozing from the mouth or nose, especially nosebleeds or bleeding from brushing your teeth
      • abnormal vaginal bleeding (especially heavy menstrual flow)
      • blood in the urine or stool or bleeding from the rectum. Blood in the stool can appear as red blood or as a dark, tarry color. Taking iron supplements also can cause dark, tarry stools.
      • headaches and other neurological symptoms. These problems are very rare, but you should discuss them with your doctor.
    • anemia. This is a condition in which your blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have the following signs and symptoms of anemia:
      • shortness of breath
      • dizziness
      • headache
      • coldness in the hands and feet
      • pale skin
      • chest pain
    • leukopenia. This is a condition when there are a low number of white blood cells in your body. These cells help fight infections. You may become more susceptible to infections and even to negative reactions of live vaccines if you are taking Cytosar-U. Tell your healthcare provider if you are feeling “under the weather” or are running a fever. Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are scheduled to receive a vaccination, as live vaccinations can make you sick.
    • Benzyl alcohol is contained in the Cytosar-U injection. Benzyl alcohol has been reported to be associated with a fatal "Gasping Syndrome" in premature infants.

Do not take Cytosar-U if you:

  • are allergic to any of its ingredients
  • have a meningeal infection

DO NOT USE Cytosar-U injection (which contains benzyl alcohol) INTRATHECALLY (into the brain or spinal cord). 

Cytosar-U Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Cytosar-U, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before using Cytosar-U, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to any of its ingredients
  • have a meningeal infection
  • have blood problems
  • are scheduled to receive a vaccine
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Cytosar-U and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Cytosar-U falls into category D. It has been shown that use of Cytosar-U in pregnant women caused some babies to be born with problems. However, in some serious situations, the benefit of using this medication may be greater than the risk of harm to the baby.

Avoiding pregnancy while taking Cytosar-U is recommended in women of childbearing potential.

Cytosar-U and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It is known that Cytosar-U can cross into human milk. Because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using Cytosar-U.

Cytosar-U Usage

Cytosar-U is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting.

 

Cytosar-U Dosage

Cytosar-U is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting. The Cytosar-U dose your doctor recommends will be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • how you respond to this medication

Cytosar-U dosing is as follows:

  • For induction therapy of acute non-lymphocytic leukemia, the usual dose in combination with other anticancer drugs is 100 mg/m2/day by continuous IV (into the vein) infusion (Days 1 to 7) or 100 mg/m2 IV every 12 hours (Days 1 to 7).
  • For acute leukemia: doses range from 5 mg/m2 to 75 mg/m2 of body surface area.
    • The frequency of administration may vary from once a day for 4 days to once every 4 days.
    • The most frequently used dose was 30 mg/m2 every 4 days, followed by one additional treatment.

 

Cytosar-U Overdose

Since Cytosar-U is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Cytosar-U FDA Warning

INJECTABLE FORMULATION:

Only physicians experienced in cancer chemotherapy should use Cytosar-U injection. 

For induction therapy patients should be treated in a facility with laboratory and supportive resources sufficient to monitor drug tolerance and protect and maintain a patient compromised by drug toxicity. The main toxic effect of Cytosar-U is bone marrow suppression with leukopenia, thrombocytopenia and anemia.

Less serious toxicity includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, oral ulceration and hepatic dysfunction.

The physician must judge possible benefit to the patient against known toxic effects of this drug in considering the advisability of therapy with Cytosar-U. Before making this judgment or beginning treatment, the physician should be familiar with the following text.