Cladribine is used to treat certain types of blood cancer where the bone marrow produces too many white blood cells, including hairy cell leukaemia and B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Cladribine is to be given intravenously (into the vein) via an infusion. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
The dose of this medicine will be determined by your doctor based on your weight.
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.
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.
Inform you doctor if you have the following conditions:
- ongoing infection
- blood or immune system disorders
- liver disease
- 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.
Cladribine may cause dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity that requires you to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: fatigue, headache, skin rash, injection site reaction, abnormal breath sounds, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, stomach wind, diarrhoea, constipation, muscle weakness or pain, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and eye inflammation.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor immediately if you experience:
- signs of infection such as 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).
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- antiviral medicines e.g. tenofovir
- medicines that affect the production of blood cells in the bone marrow e.g. dipyrone
- live vaccines
- other medicines used to treat leukaemia e.g. fludarabine
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.
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8 °C. Protect from light.
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.