Cladribine - subcutaneous

Patient Medicine Information
Why do I need this medicine?
Cladribine is used to treat certain type of blood cancer in which the bone marrow produces too many white blood cells, particularly hairy cell leukaemia.

This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
How do I use this medicine?
Cladribine is to be injected subcutaneously (into the fatty layer under the skin, usually in the thigh, upper arm or abdomen area) at around the same time each day. Remember to rotate the injection sites. Do not inject into the same area all the time. New injection sites should be at least 1.5 inches away from the previous injection site. Do not inject near the navel (belly button).

If you or your caregiver had been given the proper training on the preparation and injection techniques of this medicine, you or your caregiver may do the administration.

Use Cladribine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not use more or less than nstructed by your doctor.

The dose of this medicine will be determined by your doctor based on your weight.
What should I do if I have forgotten to use this medicine?
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any dose.

If you miss an appointment with your doctor, arrange for a replacement appointment as soon as possible.

If you or a caregiver had been trained to administer this medicine, alert your doctor immediately.

Do not double a dose under any circumstances.

If you often forget to administer your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
When should I not use this medicine?
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • moderate to severe liver disease
  • moderate to severe kidney disease
as Cladribine may not be suitable for you.

Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. This medicine may cause harm to your unborn child. You must use proven birth control methods while taking this medicine.

Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine and for at least 6 months after your last Cladribine dose.

Do not give this medicine to children below 18 years old unless instructed to do so by the doctor.

DO NOT take this medicine with medicines that affect the production of blood cells in the bone marrow.
What should I take note of while using this medicine?
Inform you doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • ongoing infection or at risk of infection
  • blood or immune system disorders
  • at risk of having excess uric acid in the blood
  • mild liver disease
  • mild kidney disease
Keep your appointments with your doctor. You will need to have regular blood tests to check your blood counts as well as your liver and kidney function. Your doctor will advise you on how often you will need to have these tests.
What side effects could I experience?
Cladribine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.

Other side effects include any of the following: fatigue, headache, skin rash, injection site reaction, abnormal breath sounds, cough, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, stomach wind, diarrhoea, constipation, muscle weakness or pain, difficulty sleeping and anxiety.

Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor immediately if you experience:
  • signs of infection e.g. fever, chills
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • weakness altered sensation or numbness in the limbs
  • confusion or memory loss
  • signs of kidney disease e.g. blood in urine, unable to pass urine
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.

This medicine will cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.

Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.

White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.

Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Can I use this with other medicines?
Do not take Cladribine with medicines that affect the production of blood cells in the bone marrow e.g. dipyrone

Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
  • antiviral medicines e.g. tenofovir
  • live vaccines
  • other medicines used to treat leaukaemia e.g. fludarabine
  • anti-inflammatory medicines e.g. prednisone
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Cladribine.

Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid alcohol.
How should I store this medicine?
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8 °C. Do not freeze.

Keep away from the reach of children.

The medicine must not be used past the expiry date.

As this is a cancer medicine, any unused or expired vials should be handed to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.
This information is independently developed by MIMS based on cladribine - subcutaneous and is provided for your reference only. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Although great effort has been made to ensure content accuracy, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise. Copyright © 2021 MIMS. All rights reserved. Powered by
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