Generic Name: asparaginase (as-PAR-a-jin-ase)
Brand Name: Erwinaze
Asparaginase is used for:
Treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in certain patients. It is used along with other cancer medicines.
Asparaginase is an antineoplastic agent. It works by decreasing the amount of asparagine in the body, which kills certain leukemia cells.
Do NOT use asparaginase if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in asparaginase
- you have inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- you have ever had serious blood clots, serious bleeding, or pancreatitis after using asparaginase or L-asparaginase
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using asparaginase:
Some medical conditions may interact with asparaginase. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have liver problems, bone marrow problems, diabetes or high blood sugar, or an infection
- if you have a history of bleeding problems or blood clots
- if you have recently received or are undergoing radiation therapy
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with asparaginase. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), aspirin, dipyridamole, heparin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because the risk of bleeding may be increased
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if asparaginase may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use asparaginase:
Use asparaginase as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Asparaginase is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
- Do not use asparaginase if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
- Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
- If you miss a dose of asparaginase, contact your doctor right away.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use asparaginase.
Important safety information:
- Do not receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) while you are taking asparaginase. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take asparaginase before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Serious bleeding and blood clots have been reported with the use of asparaginase and other similar medicines. Contact your doctor right away if you experience calf, leg, or arm pain, swelling, redness, or tenderness; chest pain; coughing up blood; one-sided weakness; shortness of breath; slurred speech; unusual bruising or bleeding; or vision problems.
- Asparaginase may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
- Diabetes patients - Asparaginase may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Lab tests, including blood clotting tests or blood glucose, may be performed while you use asparaginase. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Asparaginase should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 2 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using asparaginase while you are pregnant. It is not known if asparaginase is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking asparaginase.
Possible side effects of asparaginase:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. No COMMON side effects have been reported with asparaginase. Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); calf, leg, or arm pain, swelling, redness, or tenderness; chest pain; confusion; coughing up blood; fever; headache; one-sided weakness; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; seizures; shortness of breath; slurred speech; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased thirst, hunger, or urination; drowsiness; flushing; rapid breathing; fruit-like breath odor); symptoms of pancreatitis (eg, severe stomach or back pain, with or without nausea or vomiting); unusual bleeding or bruising; vision problems; yellowing of skin or eyes.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of asparaginase:
Asparaginase is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. Keep asparaginase out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about asparaginase, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Asparaginase is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take asparaginase or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about asparaginase. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to asparaginase. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using asparaginase.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.