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Generic name: pentostatinPEN-toe-stah-tin ]
Drug class: Antibiotics / antineoplastics

Medically reviewed by on Mar 15, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Nipent?

Nipent is used to treat hairy cell leukemia (a type of blood cancer).

Nipent may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Nipent 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.

Nipent may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • skin sores, severe skin rash;

  • confusion, hallucinations, problems with speech or memory, seizure;

  • muscle twitching, loss of movement in any part of your body;

  • numbness, tingling, or burning pain;

  • fluid build-up in or around the lungs--pain when you breathe, feeling short of breath while lying down, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus, cold, clammy skin, anxiety, rapid heartbeats;

  • kidney problems--little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles, feeling tired or short of breath; or

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath.

Common side effects of Nipent may include:

  • loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;

  • diarrhea;

  • rash, itching;

  • muscle pain;

  • headache, tiredness; or

  • fever, chills, cough.

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.


Nipent can cause harmful side effects on your kidneys, liver, lungs, or central nervous system. Call your doctor at once if you have symptoms such as: swelling, rapid weight gain, little or no urinating, pink or red urine, severe shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, cough, vision problems, numbness, tingling, or burning pain.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Nipent if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease;

  • lung disease;

  • any type of infection (including pneumonia); or

  • weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicines).

Nipent may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while using Nipent.

How is Nipent given?

Your doctor will perform blood tests to make sure you do not have conditions that would prevent you from safely receiving Nipent.

Nipent is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Nipent is usually given every other week. Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with Nipent.

Nipent can lower your blood cell counts. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results. You may also need to have a bone marrow biopsy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Nipent.

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 receiving Nipent?

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using Nipent. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

What other drugs will affect Nipent?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect Nipent, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.