Generic Name: Asparaginase (a SPEAR a ji nase e ko lye)
Medically reviewed on July 4, 2018
- Allergic reactions may happen with asparaginase. The chance of an allergic reaction is higher in people who have had an allergic reaction to a drug like this one. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may cause liver problems in some people. In patients who already have liver problems, it may make them worse. Talk with the doctor.
Uses of Asparaginase:
- It is used to treat a type of leukemia.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Asparaginase?
- If you have an allergy to asparaginase or any other part of asparaginase.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have any of these health problems: Liver problems or pancreatitis.
- If you have had a recent yellow fever vaccine.
- If asparaginase caused bleeding, a blood clot, or an irritated pancreas before.
- If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not use asparaginase if you are pregnant.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take asparaginase.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Fosphenytoin or phenytoin.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with asparaginase.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take asparaginase with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Asparaginase?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take asparaginase. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Very bad bleeding and blood clots in the brain have happened with asparaginase and other drugs like it. Talk with the doctor.
- Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with asparaginase may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with your doctor. This medicine may raise blood sugar.
- Check your blood sugar as you have been told by your doctor.
- A very bad and sometimes deadly pancreas problem (pancreatitis) has happened with asparaginase. Talk with your doctor.
- This medicine may stop menstrual periods in females and affect sperm in males. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking asparaginase, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Asparaginase) best taken?
Use asparaginase as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as a shot into a muscle or vein.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- A very bad and sometimes deadly brain problem called posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) has happened with asparaginase. Call your doctor right away if you have signs like feeling confused, lowered alertness, change in eyesight, loss of eyesight, seizures, or very bad headache.
What are some other side effects of Asparaginase?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Asparaginase?
- If you need to store asparaginase at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about asparaginase, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.