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Fludara  (Fludarabine)   

 

Warning : There are several precautions to be aware of before you begin taking Fludara. There are some potentially harmful side effects, so you should consult your doctor’s office if you experience any of them. One of the main precautions is the potential to experience blood or bone marrow disorders. Some of the ways you will know if you have one of these problems is whether you bleed or bruise more easily than usual, or both, and if the bleeding or bruising does not heal easily. Another symptom of having a blood or bone marrow problem is if you are more sensitive to infections. You may experience chills, or a fever, or a persistent sore throat; so contact your doctor if you have any of these side effects.

 

It is also important to know whether or not you have an allergy to this medicine. If you have taken it before or had an allergic reaction to the drug, let your doctor know right away.

 

Indications:  Fludara is used primarily to treat certain kinds of cancers by slowing or stopping the continued growth of harmful cancer cells.

The medication is mainly used to treat the following medical conditions: 

  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), in patients for whom other forms of treatment have not worked 
  • Indolent or low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphomas  in patients that have been unsuccessfully treated with other forms of treatment.   

Dosage:  Fludara may only be prescribed and administered by a physician or other health care professional. Your doctor will decide on your appropriate dose amounts and schedule for receiving the medicine based on your general health, whether you are taking other chemotherapy drugs or not, the severity of the tumor and your body mass index.

This drug comes as a powder to be added to a medical fluid and injected intravenously. Usually, the appropriate dose is taken once daily for five consecutive days, every 28 days. The injection takes about 30 minutes to be over. Appropriate administering is crucial. Fludara can damage organs in your body. It is very important during the treatment that you drink plenty of water to help your body get rid of the toxic effects of the drug. This helps prevent kidney problems and improve the curative effects of the drug.  

Overdose:  overdosing any chemotherapy drug can be fetal. Fludara overdose can be dangerous. Even at normal dose, Fludara can lead to a decrease in white blood cells and platelets, which can cause serious infections; therefore, avoid anything that might weaken your immune system and the risk of infection while taking Fludara.  

The medication can also damage your nervous system, and lead to seizures, restlessness, and even coma. In some patients, Fludara can cause lung damage, and other unpredictable life threatening health problems. During the treatment, respect all appointments you have with your doctor. If you think you have taken an overdose, contact your doctor or the poison control center nearest you as soon as possible.  

Missing dose: It is basically difficult to miss a dose of Fludara if you are present for your appointment. Do not neglect your appointment; one missed dose of Fludara can affect the entire treatment. If for some reasons you cannot be present at the hospital for the treatment, contact your health care provider. Do not stay home because you are experience side effects; Fludara cause adverse effects in most patients.

Contraindications : Some contraindicative situations may arise if you are already experiencing certain medical conditions that can become worse once your take this prescription. If you have had infections in the past, or certain kinds of viruses, then let your physician know before taking Fludara. This drug can also worsen problems associated with blood disorders, such as lack of blood clotting or anemia. Talk to your physician about your medical history and about all possible warnings and side effects of this medication.

 

Fludara is not recommended in the following conditions : 

 

  • allergy to Fludara or any of its constituents  
  • chronic kidney failure  
  • hemolytic anemia  
  • pregnancy or breastfeeding   
  • vaccination with live attenuated vaccine   
  • severe liver failure  
  • Taking Pentostatine (deoxycoformycin). 

Fludara is not recommended or should be used with caution in patients whose general condition is poor, mainly those suffering from: 

 

  • Immunodeficiency disorders   
  • thrombocytopenia   
  • neutropenia   
  • anemia   
  • Opportunistic infections.   

Interactions : Unfavorable drug interactions occur when you are taking more than one medication at once and they influence each other. You may be taking one or more medications in addition to this drug. Some medications are acceptable to take at the same time; some are not. Some medicines that are not recommended to be used at the same time as this medication are:  live vaccines like the flu vaccine, salicylates such aspirin or ibuprofen, and blood thinners like enoxaparin and warfarin. Give your doctor a complete list of all of your medications so that the doctor can tell you which medicines are okay to continue taking or can recommend replacements. You should not try to manage your own medicine routine as this can cause harm.

 

Contact your doctor before using the following medications:  

  • Azathioprine 
  • Colchicine 
  • Dipyridamole 
  • Flucytosine 
  • Ganciclovir 
  • interferon 
  • Pentostatin 
  • Plicamycin 
  • Zidovudine 

Side effects:  Fludara tends to cause these following side effects:  

  • nausea and vomiting 
  • anxiety 
  • constipation 
  • hair loss 
  • cough 
  • diarrhea 
  • drowsiness 
  • muscle pain 
  • rash or itching 
  • Tiredness or weakness 

If the side effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:  

  • confusion  
  • hearing loss  
  • severe depression symptoms 
  • chest pain 
  • difficulty swallowing  
  • difficulty breathing 
  • chest pain or discomfort  
  • fast or irregular heartbeat  
  • persistent cough 
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes 
  • swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs  
  • Numbness, pain or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs.   

 

References: 

1 - nlm.nih.gov, Fludarabine Injection 

2 - doctissimo.fr, FLUDARA 

3 - santecheznous.com, Fludara