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Generic Name: pegaspargase (peg ah SPAR jase)
Brand Name: Oncaspar

What is pegaspargase?

Pegaspargase is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Pegaspargase is used in combination with other cancer medications to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This medicine is also used to treat allergic reactions to another cancer medication called asparaginase (Elspar).

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

Important Information

You should not use pegaspargase if you have ever received asparaginase and it caused pancreatitis, severe bleeding, a blood clot, or a severe allergic reaction.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use pegaspargase if you are allergic to it, or if you have ever received asparaginase and it caused any of the following conditions:

  • a blood clot;

  • pancreatitis;

  • severe bleeding; or

  • a severe allergic reaction.

To make sure pegaspargase is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

It is not known whether pegaspargase will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy during your treatment with pegaspargase. Follow your doctor's instructions about how long to prevent pregnancy after your treatment ends.

It is not known whether pegaspargase passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How is pegaspargase given?

Pegaspargase is injected into a muscle or into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

You will be watched closely for at least 1 hour after receiving pegaspargase, to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction to the medication.

Pegaspargase can lower blood cells that help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often to be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects. You may also need liver function tests.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss an appointment for your pegaspargase 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 pegaspargase?

Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.

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.

Pegaspargase side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;

  • severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;

  • dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss).

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)

Pegaspargase dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia:

2,500 international units/m2 IM or IV no more frequently than every 14 days

Use: Component of a multi-agent chemotherapeutic regimen for treatment of patients with first line acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and hypersensitivity to asparaginase.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia:

1 year or older: 2,500 international units/m2 IM or IV no more frequently than every 14 days.

Use: Component of a multi-agent chemotherapeutic regimen for treatment of patients with: first line acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and hypersensitivity to asparaginase.

What other drugs will affect pegaspargase?

Other drugs may interact with pegaspargase, 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.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about pegaspargase.
  • 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: 2.04.

Date modified: February 01, 2018
Last reviewed: August 04, 2015