Cytosar



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Generic Name: cytarabine
(sye TAR a been)

What is Cytosar?

Cytosar is a cancer medication. Cytarabine interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Cytosar is used to treat certain types of leukemia (blood cancers). Cytarabine is also used to treat leukemia associated with meningitis.

Cytosar may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Cytosar?

Do not receive this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Before receiving Cytosar, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have a breathing disorder such as asthma, or a history of stomach ulcer or bleeding.

Cytosar can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while you are being treated with Cytosar. The live vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving Cytosar?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to Cytosar.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use Cytosar:

  • asthma or other breathing disorder; or
  • a history of stomach ulcer or bleeding.

FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not receive Cytosar without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether Cytosar passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is Cytosar given?

Cytosar is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein, under the skin, or into the space around the spinal cord. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when the medicine is injected.

Cytosar can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Cytosar injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have received too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, or changes in personality or behavior.

What should I avoid while receiving Cytosar?

Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while you are being treated with Cytosar. The live vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease.

What are the possible side effects of Cytosar?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness
  • eye pain or redness, problems with your vision
  • sudden shortness of breath, dry cough
  • unusual thoughts or behavior
  • problems with urination
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
  • fever, chest pain, muscle or bone pain, skin rash, tired feeling, and redness of the eyes (may occur 6 to 12 hours after your injection).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain
  • mouth sores
  • drowsiness, dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • sores or swelling around your mouth or rectum
  • sore throat
  • hair loss; or
  • headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Cytosar?

Tell your doctor if you take digoxin (Lanoxin).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with Cytosar. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about Cytosar.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.