Pentostatin

Pentostatin treats hairy cell leukemia, a rare blood and bone marrow cancer. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting and extreme tiredness.

Pentostatin Overview

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Pentostatin is used to treat hairy cell leukemia (cancer of a certain type of white blood cell). Pentostatin is an antibiotic that is only used in cancer chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.

Pentostatin comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid and injected into a vein by a healthcare professional. It is usually injected once every other week.

Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and rash.

 

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Uses of Pentostatin

Pentostatin is used to treat hairy cell leukemia (cancer of a certain type of white blood cell).

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

Pentostatin Brand Names

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

Pentostatin Drug Class

Pentostatin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Pentostatin

Common side effects of pentostatin include the following:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • sores in the mouth and throat
  • flatulence or large amounts of gas in the intestines or bowels
  • hair loss
  • muscle, back, or joint pain
  • headache
  • sweating
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • dry skin
  • itching
  • loss of strength or energy

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.

Pentostatin 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:

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

Pentostatin Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with pentostatin.

  • Pentostatin can cause damage to the nervous system. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: seizures; confusion; drowsiness; loss of consciousness for a period of time; pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet; or weakness in the arms or leg or loss of ability to move your arms or legs.
  • In a clinical study, people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who used pentostatin injection along with fludarabine (Fludara) were at a higher risk of developing serious lung damage. In some cases, this lung damage caused death. Therefore, your doctor will not prescribe pentostatin injection to be given along with fludarabine (Fludara).

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to pentostatin or to any of its ingredients.

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

Inform MD

Before receiving pentostatin,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to pentostatin, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in pentostatin injection.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have recently had an infection or if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease.
  • ell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Pentostatin 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. You should not become pregnant while you are receiving pentostatin. If you become pregnant while receiving pentostatin, call your doctor. Pentostatin may harm the fetus.

Pentostatin and Lactation

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

It is not known if this medication 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 this medication.

Pentostatin Usage

Pentostatin comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid and injected into a vein by a healthcare professional. It is usually injected once every other week.

Pentostatin 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 medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your weight
  • your height
  • your age
  • your gender

The recommended dosage of pentostatin is 4 mg/m2 every other week.

Pentostatin Overdose

Because 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.

Other Requirements

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to pentostatin.

Pentostatin FDA Warning

Pentostatin should be administered under the supervision of a physician qualified and experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. The use of higher doses than those specified is not recommended. Dose-limiting severe renal, liver, pulmonary, and CNS toxicities occurred in Phase 1 studies that used pentostatin at higher doses (20-50 mg/m2 in divided doses over 5 days) than recommended.

In a clinical investigation in patients with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia using pentostatin at the recommended dose in combination with fludarabine phosphate, 4 of 6 patients entered in the study had severe or fatal pulmonary toxicity. The use of pentostatin in combination with fludarabine phosphate is not recommended.