Generic Name: clofarabine (kloe FAR a been)
Brand Name: Clolar
What is clofarabine?
Clofarabine is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.
Clofarabine is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (a type of blood cancer) in children and young adults up to 21 years old.
Clofarabine is usually given after other cancer medicines have been tried without successful treatment.
Clofarabine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about clofarabine?
Clofarabine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. You may get an infection or bleed more easily. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, body aches).
Clofarabine can harm your liver or kidneys. Call your doctor if you have lower back pain, little or no urinating, or blood in your urine.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving clofarabine?
To make sure clofarabine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver disease; or
FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use clofarabine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.
Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are receiving clofarabine, whether you are a man or a woman. Clofarabine use by either parent may cause birth defects.
It is not known whether clofarabine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are receiving clofarabine.
How is clofarabine given?
Clofarabine is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
Clofarabine is usually given daily for 5 days in a row during one or more treatment cycles. Your doctor will determine how many treatment cycles you will receive and how often.
You may receive other medications to help prevent certain side effects of clofarabine.
Clofarabine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your clofarabine injection.
What happens if I overdose?
Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid while receiving clofarabine?
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Avoid coming into contact with your body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). Chemotherapy can pass into body fluids. Patients or caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.
Clofarabine side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
runny or stuffy nose, cough, rapid heart rate, trouble breathing, swelling and pain in any part of your body;
lower back pain, blood in your urine, little or no urinating;
numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth;
muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction, overactive reflexes;
pain, redness, numbness, and peeling skin on your hands or feet;
fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, feeling short of breath, confusion, fainting;
numbness or redness on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet;
bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), loss of appetite, mouth sores, unusual weakness.
Common side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
headache, feeling tired or anxious;
mild itching or skin rash; or
warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Clolar side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect clofarabine?
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially blood pressure medications.
Clofarabine can harm your liver or kidneys. This effect is increased when you also use other medicines harmful to the liver or kidneys. During your 5-day treatment with clofarabine, you may need to avoid using certain medications. Many other drugs (including some over-the-counter medicines) can be harmful to the liver or kidneys, such as:
an antibiotic, antifungal medicine, antiviral medicine, sulfa drug, or tuberculosis medicine;
birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;
heart or blood pressure medication;
cholesterol-lowering medications--Crestor, Lipitor, Pravachol, Simcor, Vytorin, Zocor, and others;
gout or arthritis medications (including gold injections);
medicines to treat a bowel disorder;
medication to prevent organ transplant rejection;
medicines to treat mental illness;
other cancer medications;
pain or arthritis medicines--ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others;
seizure medication--carbamazepine, phenytoin, and others; or
steroids (prednisone and others).
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with clofarabine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More Clolar resources
Compare Clolar with other medications
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about clofarabine.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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