Leukine stimulates the bone marrow to make new white blood cells. Leukine is used after chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, and stem cell transplants.

Leukine Overview


Leukine is a prescription medication used to to help your bone marrow make more white blood cells in certain situations such as after chemotherapy. 

Leukine belongs to a group of drugs called colony-stimulating factors. These work to increase the number and function of your white blood cells and in turn help increase the number and function of your white blood cells.

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

Common side effects of Leukine include mild bone pain and flu like syndrome. 

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  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Hodgkin Disease
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  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-lymphoma

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Leukine Cautionary Labels


Uses of Leukine

Leukine is a prescription medication used to help increase the number and function of white blood cells:

  • after bone marrow transplantation
  • bone marrow transplantation failure or engraftment delay
  • before and after peripheral blood stem cell transplantation
  • following induction chemotherapy in older patients with acute myelogenous leukemia.

Your doctor may also choose to treat other conditions with Leukine.


Leukine Drug Class

Leukine is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Leukine

Serious side effects have been reported with Leukine. See the “Leukine Precautions” section.

The most common side effect during Leukine therapy is:

  • mild bone pain, usually in the lower back or pelvis and lasting only a few days.
  • flu-like syndrome with fever, fatigue, chills, and muscle aches. Your doctor may recommend that you take acetaminophen or other painkillers.
  • feeling tired or weak
  • muscle aches
  • diarrhea
  • stomach upset
  • low fever (less than 100.5° F or 38° C) about one to four hours after an injection
  • swelling, redness, and/or discomfort where Leukine is injected. Occasionally a skin reaction may occur at the injection site. This usually will not require you to stop taking Leukine. The skin may become red, painful, or swollen. If a skin reaction occurs, contact your doctor. 

This is not a complete list of Leukine 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.

Leukine Interactions

Drug Interactions between Leukine and other drugs have not been fully evaluated. Drugs which may potentiate the myeloproliferative effects of Leukine, such as lithium and corticosteroids, should be used with caution.

Leukine Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with Leukine. These may be due to Leukine, your illness, or other treatments you may have received. Call your doctor immediately if any of the following happen to you:

  • You develop a high fever (over 100.5° F or 38° C).
  • You notice any signs of infection including chills, sore throat, or congestion (such as a stuffy nose).
  • You have trouble breathing, or you develop wheezing, fainting, extensive skin rash, hives, or feel you are having an allergic reaction.
  • You experience sudden weight gain or other signs of fluid build-up such as swollen legs or feet.
  • You develop chest pain, chest discomfort, or a rapid or irregular pulse.

A generalized allergy is an uncommon but potentially serious reaction to Leukine. This may include a skin rash over your entire body, hives, trouble breathing, a fast pulse, sweating, and feeling faint. In severe cases a generalized allergy may be life-threatening. If you think you are having a generalized allergy to Leukine, stop taking Leukine and notify your doctor immediately.

Occasionally a skin reaction may occur at the injection site. This usually will not require you to stop taking Leukine. The skin may become red, painful, or swollen. If a skin reaction occurs, contact your doctor. The following steps may be taken to help prevent further skin reactions:

  • At least 30 minutes before you plan to inject, remove your Leukine from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before injecting.
  • Rotate the injection sites from one injection to the next.
  • Apply ice to the site for one minute immediately prior to injection.
  • Inject Leukine slowly.
  • Avoid rubbing the skin before or after injecting.

Leukine 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 Leukine, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking Leukine, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to Leukine or to any of its ingredients
  • take the medication lithium
  • take corticosteroids such as prednisone
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breast-feeding or plan to breast feed

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

Leukine 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.

Leukine falls into category C. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. It is not known whether Leukine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproductive capability. Leukine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

Leukine and Lactation

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

It is not known whether Leukine is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, Leukine should be administered to a nursing woman only if clearly needed.

Leukine Usage

Take Leukine exactly as prescribed.

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

If your doctor has recommended that you take Leukine at home, your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist should have instructed you and/or your caregiver on how Leukine should be prepared, how it should be injected, and how often it should be injected. Do not attempt to self-administer Leukine until you are sure that you understand the instructions for giving an injection to yourself. 

Use the correct syringe and dose:

The dose will usually be measured in milliliters (mL) or cubic centimeters (cc). It is important that you use a syringe that is marked in tenths (1/10) of a milliliter or cubic centimeter so that you are able to measure the correct dose prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor will either supply you with the correct syringes and needles, or will write you a prescription so you can get the correct syringes and needles from your pharmacy.

It is very important that you use the correct needle and syringe. Failure to use the correct syringe could result in your receiving either too little or too much Leukine. 

Choosing an Injection Site:

Leukine is available in an injectable form to be given directly under the skin. The best areas for self-injecting Leukine are the thighs or stomach. The navel and waistline should be avoided. If a caregiver is helping with the injections, you may be instructed to inject on the back portion of the upper arms. It is important to use a different injection site each time to avoid soreness in any one area.


Leukine Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your body mass index
  • your height
  • your age

The recommended dose of Leukine is 250 mcg/m2/day. Leukine will be administered on certain days and for a certain time frame depending on the condition being treated and how you respond to this medication.

Leukine Overdose

If you take too much Leukine, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Since Leukine 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.

Other Requirements

  • Keep Leukine in the refrigerator but not in the freezer compartment.
  • Do not shake Leukine.
  • Do not use Leukine that has been frozen.
  • Keep Leukine out of direct sunlight.
  • Do not use Leukine beyond the expiration date printed on the vial label. Once the vial has been used, any remaining Leukine should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 20 days (be sure to mark down the date you first used the vial). Throw away any remaining Leukine after 20 days.