Decitabine

Decitabine helps the bone marrow produce normal blood cells. During treatment and for a few months after treatment, effective contraception is recommended.

Decitabine Overview

Updated: 

Decitabine is a prescripton medication used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome. This is a group of conditions in which the bone marrow makes blood cells that are misshapen. The bone marrow cannot produce enough healthy blood cells. Decitabine belongs to a group of drugs called hypomethylation agents. These work by helping the bone marrow produce normal blood cells. It also works by killing abnormal cells in the bone marrow.

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

Common side effects include lowered blood cell counts, tiredness, fever, and nausea.

Patient Ratings for Decitabine

How was your experience with Decitabine?

First, a little about yourself

Tell us about yourself in a few words?

What tips would you provide a friend before taking Decitabine?

What are you taking Decitabine for?

Choose one
  • Other

How long have you been taking it?

Choose one
  • Less than a week
  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
  • A year or so
  • Two years or more

How well did Decitabine work for you?

Did you experience many side effects while taking this drug?

How likely would you be to recommend Decitabine to a friend?

Decitabine Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautions

Uses of Decitabine

Decitabine is a prescripton medication used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome. This is a group of conditions in which the bone marrow makes blood cells that are misshapen. The bone marrow cannot produce enough healthy blood cells.

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

Decitabine Brand Names

Decitabine may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Decitabine Drug Class

Decitabine is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Decitabine

Common side effects include the following:

  • tiredness
  • fever
  • nausea
  • cough
  • petechiae (red dots on your skin)
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • high blood sugar

This is not a complete list of this medication’s side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

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

Decitabine Interactions

No decitabine drug interactions have been identified. However, you should tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Not all drug interactions are known or reported and new drug interactions are continually being reported.

Decitabine Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with decitabine including the following:

  • low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Tell your doctor right away if you have any unusual bleeding, such as nosebleeds, or bruising under your skin.
  • low white blood cell count (neutropenia). A low white blood cell count can cause you to get infections, which may be serious. Serious illness or death can happen if an infection is not treated right away when white blood cell counts are very low. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms of an infection:
    • fever
    • shortness of breath
    • pain or burning on urination
    • chills
    • cough
  • low red blood cell count (anemia). Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms of anemia during treatment with decitabine:
    • feeling weak, tired, or you get tired easily
    • you look pale
    • you feel short of breath

It is recommended to avoid pregnancy while receiving treatment with decitabine and for I month afterwards, and to use effective contraception during this time.

It is recommended for men not to father a child while receiving treatment with decitabine, and for 2 months afterwards. During these times, men with female partners of childbearing potential should use effective contraception.

Decitabine 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 decitabine, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet.

Inform MD

Before receiving a dose of decitabine,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to decitabine or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or if you plan to father a child. You or your partner should not become pregnant while you are using decitabine. You should use birth control to prevent pregnancy in yourself or your partner during your treatment with decitabine and for 2 months afterwards. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that will work for you. If you or your partner becomes pregnant while using decitabine, call your doctor. Decitabine may harm the fetus.
  • tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.

Decitabine 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.

This medication falls into category D. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Decitabine may cause harm to an unborn baby.

It is recommended to avoid pregnancy while receiving treatment with decitabine and for I month afterwards, and to use effective contraception during this time.

It is recommended for men not to father a child while receiving treatment with decitabine, and for 2 months afterwards. During these times, men with female partners of childbearing potential should use effective contraception.

Decitabine and Lactation

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

It is not known if decitabine crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and 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 decitabine.

Decitabine Usage

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

Decitabine Dosage

Treatment Regimen - Option 1

  • The starting dose of decitabine is 15 mg/m2 by IV (into the vein) infusion over 3 hours repeated every 8 hours for 3 days. This cycle should be repeated every 6 weeks.
  • Dosing and/or duration may be adjusted according to adverse effects that may occur.

Treatment Regimen - Option 2

  • The starting dose of decitabine is 20 mg/m2 by IV (into the vein) infusion over 1 hour repeated daily for 5 days. This cycle should be repeated every 4 weeks.
  • Dosing and/or duration may be adjusted according to adverse effects that may occur.

 

Decitabine Overdose

If this medication 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.