Cladribine is used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (scars or lesions in the brain and spinal cord).
Take Cladribine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Do not divide, chew or crush the tablet.
Try to take it at the same time each day.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember on the same day you were supposed to take it. If you do not remember it until the following day, do not take the missed dose together with the next scheduled dose. Take the missed dose on the next day and extend the number of days in that treatment week.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- HIV infection
- active long-standing tuberculosis
- active long-standing hepatitis
- active cancer
- moderate or severe kidney disease
- weakened immune system
as Cladribine may not be suitable for you.
Do not take Cladribine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon; or if your partner (for men) are pregnant, may be pregnant or planning to be pregnant. If you become pregnant while being treated with Cladribine, alert your doctor immediately. Cladribine may cause harm to your unborn child. It is important that you do not get pregnant or father a child during the treatment. You and your partner must use proven birth control methods while taking this medicine and for at least 6 months after stopping treatment. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine and for at least 1 week after your last Cladribine dose.
Do not take Cladribine with medicines that may weaken the immune system or affect the production of blood cells in the bone marrow. Please see the section “Can I take this with other medicines?” below for more information.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- active infections
- moderate or severe liver disease
- no previous exposure to shingles or chickenpox
Let your doctor know if you have been recently vaccinated (within the past 4-6 weeks). Do not receive any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
If you are undergoing blood transfusion, inform your doctor that you are taking Cladribine.
Your doctor may need to perform head MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) before you start treatment.
For as long as you are taking this medicine, you may need to have regular blood tests to check your body’s response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have blood tests.
Cladribine may cause any of the following side effects: rashes, hair loss, cold sores and shingles.
This medicine will cause the level of your white blood cells to drop. 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.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take Cladribine with the following medicines:
- medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders e.g. azathioprine, ciclosporin
- methotrexate (medicine used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis)
- anti-inflammatory medicines (long-term use) e.g. prednisone
- live vaccines or live attenuated vaccines e.g. rotavirus, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines for multiple sclerosis e.g. alemtuzumab, fingolimod, interferon beta
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 a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
Keep this medicine in its original container to protect from moisture.
Return any unused or expired medicine to your pharmacist, clinic or hospital for disposal.