Generic Name: azacitidine (ay za SYE ti deen)
Brand Name: Vidaza
What is azacitidine?
Azacitidine is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Azacitidine is used to treat certain types of bone marrow cancers and blood cell disorders.
Azacitidine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about azacitidine?
You should not receive this medicine if you have liver cancer.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving azacitidine?
You should not receive this medicine if you are allergic to azacitidine or mannitol, or if you have:
To make sure azacitidine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
kidney disease; or
a history of liver disease.
Do not use azacitidine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.
Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are receiving azacitidine, whether you are a man or a woman. If a man fathers a baby while using azacitidine, the baby may have birth defects. Use a condom to prevent pregnancy during your treatment, and for at least 4 weeks after your treatment ends.
It is not known whether azacitidine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
How is azacitidine given?
Azacitidine is injected under the skin, or into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
This medicine is usually given for 7 days in a row every 4 weeks for at least 4 treatment cycles. Your treatment schedule may be different. Follow your doctor's instructions.
You may also be given medications to reduce nausea and vomiting while you are receiving azacitidine.
Tell your caregiver right away if azacitidine accidentally gets on your skin. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and warm water.
Azacitidine 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 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 azacitidine injection.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using azacitidine?
This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's 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.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while receiving azacitidine, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
Azacitidine side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
severe ongoing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
redness, swelling, warmth, oozing, or other signs of skin infection;
stabbing chest pain, wheezing, cough with yellow or green mucus, feeling short of breath;
low blood cell counts--fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, swollen gums, mouth sores, skin sores, rapid heart rate, pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling light-headed;
kidney problems--lower back pain, blood in your urine, little or no urinating, swelling in your feet or ankles;
liver problems--upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
low potassium--leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, extreme thirst, increased urination, muscle weakness or limp feeling; or
signs of tumor cell breakdown--numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth; muscle weakness or tightness; fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, feeling short of breath; confusion, fainting.
Common side effects may include:
fever, chills, bruising, or other signs of low blood cell counts;
nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea;
redness or other irritation where the injection was given.
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: Side effects (in more detail)
Azacitidine dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Myelodysplastic Syndrome:
-First Treatment Cycle: 75 mg/m2/day via subcutaneous injection or IV infusion for 7 days; repeat cycles every 4 weeks.
-Subsequent Cycles: After 2 treatment cycles, may increase dose to 100 mg/m2 if no beneficial effect is seen and if no toxicity other than nausea and vomiting has occurred.
-Duration of Therapy: Minimum of 4 to 6 cycles; may continue treatment as long as the patient continues to benefit.
Comments: Premedicate patients for nausea and vomiting.
Use: Treatment of patients with the following French-American-British (FAB) myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) subtypes: refractory anemia (RA) or refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts (RARS) if accompanied by neutropenia or thrombocytopenia or requiring transfusions; refractory anemia with excess blasts (RAEB); refractory anemia with excess blasts in transformation (RAEB-T); and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMMoL).
What other drugs will affect azacitidine?
Other drugs may interact with azacitidine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about azacitidine
- Other brands: Vidaza
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about azacitidine.
- 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.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.04.
Last reviewed: August 04, 2015
Date modified: January 10, 2017