Pegaspargase treats a certain type of leukemia. It can also be given to patients who have had an allergic reactions to a similar medication such as Elspar.
Pegaspargase is a prescription medication used with other chemotherapy drugs to treat a certain type of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). ALL is a type of cancer of the white blood cells). Pegaspargase is also used with other chemotherapy drugs to treat a certain type of ALL in people who have had some types of allergic reactions to medications similar to pegaspargase such as asparaginase (Elspar).
Pegaspargase is an enzyme that interferes with natural substances necessary for cancer cell growth. It works by killing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
Pegaspargase comes as a liquid to be injected into a muscle or infused into a vein by a healthcare professional.
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Uses of Pegaspargase
Pegaspargase is used with other chemotherapy drugs to treat a certain type of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). ALL is a type of cancer of the white blood cells). Pegaspargase is also used with other chemotherapy drugs to treat a certain type of ALL in people who have had some types of allergic reactions to medications similar to pegaspargase such as asparaginase (Elspar).
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Pegaspargase Brand Names
Pegaspargase may be found in some form under the following brand names:
Pegaspargase Drug Class
Pegaspargase is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Pegaspargase
Common side effects of pegaspargase include the following:
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.
No drug interactions have been studied. 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.
Serious side effects have occurred with use of pegaspargase. Seek medical attention right away if you experience any of the following:
- skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- severe headache
- swelling of the face, arms, or legs
- chest pain
- ongoing pain that begins in the stomach area, but may spread to the back
- frequent urination
- increased thirst
Do not take this medication if you have:
- a history of pancreatitis with prior L‑asparaginase therapy
- a history of serious hemorrhagic events with prior L-asparaginase therapy
Pegaspargase 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.
Before receiving pegaspargase,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to pegaspargase, asparaginase (Elspar), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in pegaspargase injection. Ask your pharmacist or a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.
- tell your doctor if you have or ever had pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas), blood clots, or severe bleeding, especially if these happened during an earlier treatment with asparaginase (Elspar). Your doctor will probably not want you to receive pegaspargase.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while receiving pegaspargase, call your doctor.
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed during your treatment with pegaspargase.
Pegaspargase 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 C. There are no well-controlled studies that have been done in pregnant women. Pegaspargase should be used during pregnancy only if the possible benefit outweighs the possible risk to the unborn baby.
Pegaspargase 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.
Pegaspargase comes as a liquid to be injected into a muscle or infused intravenously (into a vein) over 1 to 2 hours by a doctor or nurse in a medical office or hospital outpatient clinic. It is usually given not more often than once every 2 weeks. Your doctor will choose the schedule that will work best for you based on your response to the medication.
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 dose is 2,500 IU/m2 into the muscle or into the vein no more frequently than every 14 days.
Since 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.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to pegaspargase.