What Clofarabine is and what it is used for?
- Clofarabine is classified as an anticancer antimetabolites. This medicine inhibits ribonucleotide reductase that is essential for the formation of DNA and RNA. This stops the growth of cancer cells, causing the cells to die.
- Clofarabine is used to treat children and young adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia that has worsened after treatment with other cancer medicines.
How Clofarabine is given?
- Clofarabine is given as an infusion into a vein over 2 hours.
What should I know while receiving Clofarabine?
- An allergic reaction may happen during or shortly after the infusion, causing fever and chills, breathing difficulties, swelling of throat or face, or hives. Tell your nurse right away if you feel unwell during an infusion.
- Do not use clofarabine when you are pregnant. Men and women should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 6 months after the treatment ends.
- Do not breastfeed and for 1 week after the last dose.
- Do not receive any kind of vaccination without doctor's approval.
- You will have regular blood and urine tests to check that you have enough blood cells and have adequate organ functions to receive clofarabine. The dose and timing of your treatment may be changed based on the test results or other side effects.
- There are many drugs may affect how clofarabine works. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
- The existing health problems may affect the use of clofarabine. You should let your doctor know if you have any type of infections or if you have other medical problems, especially liver or kidney problems.
Common side effects
- Low white blood cell count
You may have a higher risk of getting infections. Try to stay away from crowds and wash hands often. Tell your doctor right away if you have repeated fevers, coughing, stuffy nose, a painful urination or wound that becomes red and swollen.
- Low red blood cell count
You may look pale and get tired more easily. Let your doctor know if you experience any difficulty breathing or dizziness when changing positions.
- Low platelet count
You may have a higher risk of bleeding. Let your doctor know if you find red or purple dots on the skin, bleeding from the nose or gums, or any bruising or bleeding that you cannot explain.
- Nausea and vomiting
Medicines may be given before the treatment to prevent it happening. Eating and drinking often in small amounts may reduce the discomfort.
- Flu like symptoms
Symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pains and shivering may occur a few hours after treatment. These symptoms generally last for 2 to 3 days. Seek medical help if you do not get any better.
- Loss of appetite
Try to eat in small quantities and have frequent meals. If your appetite does not get any better after a few days, tell your doctor.
Your doctor can prescribe medicines for you. Drinking plenty of fluid and dietary changes may help ease discomforts.
- Weakness and fatigue
Try to pace yourself and rest as much as possible. Seek medical advice if fatigue does not go away when you rest and sleep.
- Skin rash
A rash can be itchy, red, or painful. Tell your doctor about any skin changes that you have, they can give you medicines and advices that help you feel better.
- Liver problems
Clofarabine may affect how your liver works and sometimes may cause deadly small veins obstruction in the liver. Seek medical help at once if you have yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark or brown urine, or pain in abdomen, as these can be signs of liver toxicity.
Less common side effect
- Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS)
TLS is a life-threatening condition that happens when the large amount of cancer cells die too quickly and their wastes release into the blood stream. Symptoms of TLS include general fatigue, muscle cramps, abnormal heartbeat, decreased urination, throwing up, or confusion. Your doctor will monitor you closely and prescribe medicines to prevent its development.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day can help make your recovery a smoother process.
- Alcohol and cigarettes may interfere with certain medicines or worsen side effects from chemotherapy treatment. It is wise to avoid alcohol and cigarettes during cancer treatment. If you have any problem about drinking alcohol and smoking, you should check with your doctor.