What is cladribine?
Cladribine is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Cladribine is used to treat hairy cell leukemia (a type of blood cancer).
Cladribine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Cladribine is used to treat hairy cell leukemia (a type of blood cancer).
Cladribine 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).
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to it.
To make sure cladribine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver or kidney disease; or
a bone marrow problem.
Do not use cladribine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether cladribine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are receiving cladribine.
How is cladribine given?
Cladribine is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting.
Cladribine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and you will receive it around the clock for 7 days in a row. Your doctor will determine how many 7- day treatments you will receive and how often.
You may receive other medications to help prevent certain side effects of cladribine.
Cladribine 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. Visit your doctor regularly.
Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, cough with yellow or green mucus, loss of appetite, mouth sores, unusual weakness.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since this medication is given in a healthcare setting around the clock, you will not miss a dose.
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 cladribine?
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
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.
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using cladribine, 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), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
Cladribine 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.
Tell your caregivers at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
numbness, tingling, weakness, or burning pain in your fingers or toes;
numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
redness, swelling, or itching under your skin;
lower back pain, blood in your urine, urinating less than usual or not at all;
muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction, overactive reflexes;
fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, feeling short of breath;
pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine, fever, confusion;
easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin; or
signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, cough with yellow or green mucus, loss of appetite, mouth sores, unusual weakness.
Common side effects may include:
headache, tired feeling;
mild itching or skin rash;
pain, swelling, or irritation around the IV needle.
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)
Cladribine dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Hairy Cell Leukemia:
0.09 mg/kg/day by continuous IV infusion for 7 days
Alternate dosing recommendation:
-Subcutaneous bolus injection: 0.14 mg/kg/day subcutaneously for 5 consecutive days
-IV infusion: 0.1 mg/kg/day IV for 7 consecutive days
-Under certain hematological conditions (e.g., recovery of severe myelosuppression) a small number of patients may require a second cycle and occasionally a third cycle to achieve a stable and prolonged response.
-Physicians should consider delaying or discontinuing therapy if neurotoxicity or renal toxicity occurs.
-Consult the individual manufacturer product information for dosing recommendations.
Use: For the primary or secondary treatment of patients with Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL)
What other drugs will affect cladribine?
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with cladribine, especially drugs that weaken immune system such as:
any other cancer medication;
medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection.
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with cladribine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
More about cladribine
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 2 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: antimetabolites
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about cladribine.
- 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: 6.04.
Date modified: March 06, 2018
Last reviewed: September 22, 2015