Azacitidine

Generic Name: azacitidine (AY-za-SYE-ti-deen)
Brand Name: Vidaza

Azacitidine is used for:

Treating certain blood problems, including chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Azacitidine is an antineoplastic. It works by causing the death of abnormal, rapidly dividing cells in the bone marrow.

Do NOT use azacitidine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in azacitidine or to mannitol
  • you have advanced liver cancer

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: View Frightful (But Dead Serious) Drug Side Effects

Before using azacitidine:

Some medical conditions may interact with azacitidine. 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 able to become pregnant
  • 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 kidney or liver problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with azacitidine. However, no specific interactions with azacitidine are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if azacitidine 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 azacitidine:

Use azacitidine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Azacitidine is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using azacitidine at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use azacitidine. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use azacitidine if it contains particles, is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • You may receive certain other medicines before azacitidine to help decrease the risk of nausea and vomiting. Discuss any questions with your doctor.
  • If azacitidine comes into contact with the skin, immediately and thoroughly wash it off with soap and water. If it comes into contact with mucous membranes (eg, eyes, nose, mouth, vagina), flush thoroughly with water.
  • 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 azacitidine, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use azacitidine.

Important safety information:

  • Azacitidine may cause dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use azacitidine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Azacitidine may cause dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take azacitidine before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • If vomiting or diarrhea occurs, you will need to take care not to become dehydrated. Contact your doctor for instructions.
  • Azacitidine may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Azacitidine may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Men should not father a child while using azacitidine. Talk with your doctor about using effective methods of birth control while using azacitidine.
  • Lab tests, including liver function tests, kidney function tests, and blood cell counts, may be performed while you use azacitidine. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use azacitidine with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Azacitidine should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Azacitidine may cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using azacitidine while you are pregnant. It is not known if azacitidine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking azacitidine.

Possible side effects of azacitidine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Anxiety; constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; dry skin; headache; indigestion; joint pain; loss of appetite; mild muscle pain; nausea; pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; stomach tenderness; tiredness or weakness; trouble sleeping; vomiting.

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); black, tarry stools; bleeding at the injection site; blood in the urine; chest pain; confusion; dark urine; decreased or painful urination; fainting; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; irregular heartbeat; mouth or tongue swelling or soreness; muscle pain, weakness, or cramping; numbness of an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; shortness of breath; slurred speech; stomach or leg pain; swelling of the hands, arms, ankles, feet, or legs; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual or severe tiredness or weakness; vision changes; weight loss; 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. Symptoms may include diarrhea; nausea; vomiting.

Proper storage of azacitidine:

Azacitidine is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using azacitidine at home, store azacitidine as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep azacitidine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about azacitidine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Azacitidine 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 azacitidine 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 azacitidine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to azacitidine. 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 azacitidine.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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.

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