Asparaginase (Injection)

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have received this medicine before. Make sure your doctor knows if you have liver disease, bleeding problems, blood clotting problems, or diabetes.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Blood clots or trouble getting your blood to clot properly
    • Inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis)
    • Changes in blood sugar levels and diabetic ketoacidosis
    • Liver problems
    • Problems with the nervous system (PRES, or posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, when it is used with other chemotherapy drugs)
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, or coughing up blood
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Headache, seizures, dizziness, vision changes
  • Increase in how much or how often you urinate
  • Increased hunger or thirst
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body
  • Pain or swelling in your lower leg (calf)
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, lightheadedness
  • Sudden or severe headache, or problems with vision, speech, or walking
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

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

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot into one of your muscles or into your vein.
  • You will need to stay for about an hour after you receive your medicine, to make sure you do not have any serious side effects.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Introduction

Asparaginase (as-PAR-a-jin-ase)

This medicine is a cancer drug that treats leukemia.

Brand Name(s)

Elspar

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to asparaginase or similar medicines, or if you have had other serious reactions, such as bleeding problems, blood clots, or pancreas problems.
Review Date: March 4, 2014
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
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