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Pegaspargase

Generic Name: pegaspargase (peg-AS-par-jase)
Brand Name: Oncaspar

Pegaspargase is used for:

Treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in certain patients. It is used along with other cancer medicines.

Pegaspargase is an antineoplastic agent. It works by decreasing the amount of asparagine in the body, which kills certain leukemia cells.

Do NOT use pegaspargase if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in pegaspargase
  • you have inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • you have ever had serious blood clots, serious bleeding, or inflammation of the pancreas after using pegaspargase or L-asparaginase

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 pegaspargase:

Some medical conditions may interact with pegaspargase. 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 an infection
  • if you have a history of bleeding problems or blood clots
  • if you are undergoing radiation therapy

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with pegaspargase. 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 side effects such as bleeding may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if pegaspargase 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 pegaspargase:

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

  • Pegaspargase is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • Do not shake pegaspargase.
  • Do not use pegaspargase 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 away from 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.
  • Pegaspargase is usually not used more often than every 14 days. Do not use pegaspargase more often than every 14 days without first checking with your doctor.
  • If you miss a dose of pegaspargase, contact your doctor right away.

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

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take pegaspargase before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Pegaspargase 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.
  • Pegaspargase 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.
  • Lab tests, including blood clotting tests, liver function, or blood glucose, may be performed while you use pegaspargase. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if pegaspargase can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using pegaspargase while you are pregnant. It is not known if pegaspargase is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking pegaspargase.

Possible side effects of pegaspargase:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. No COMMON side effects have been reported with pegaspargase. 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; trouble swallowing); blurred vision or other vision changes; calf, arm, or leg pain, swelling, redness, or tenderness; chest pain; confusion; coughing up blood; dizziness; one-sided weakness; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; severe headache; 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 liver problems (eg, dark urine; nausea; loss of appetite; pale stools; stomach pain; unusual tiredness; yellowing of the skin or eyes); symptoms of pancreatitis (eg, severe stomach or back pain with or without nausea or vomiting); unusual bleeding or bruising.

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 pegaspargase:

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

General information:

  • If you have any questions about pegaspargase, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Pegaspargase 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 pegaspargase 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 pegaspargase. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to pegaspargase. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using pegaspargase.

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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