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DepoCyt Side Effects

Generic Name: cytarabine liposomal

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of cytarabine liposomal. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name DepoCyt.

In Summary

Common side effects of DepoCyt include: fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, asthenia, drowsiness, and pain. Other side effects include: thrombocytopenia. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to cytarabine liposomal: intrathecal suspension

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by cytarabine liposomal (the active ingredient contained in DepoCyt). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Severity: Moderate

If any of the following side effects occur while taking cytarabine liposomal, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

More common:
  • Back pain
  • fever
  • headache
  • nausea
  • neck pain or rigidity
  • sleepiness
  • vomiting
  • weakness
Less common:
  • Black, tarry stools
  • blood in urine or stools
  • chills
  • cough or hoarseness
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pinpoint red spots on skin
  • sore throat
  • swelling of fingers, hands, arms, lower legs, or feet
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Fast or irregular breathing
  • puffiness or swelling around the face
  • shortness of breath
  • sudden, severe decrease in blood pressure
  • unusual tiredness

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with cytarabine liposomal may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common:
  • Constipation
  • urinary incontinence

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cytarabine liposomal: intrathecal suspension

Nervous system

Chemical arachnoiditis is a syndrome which is a common adverse event associated with the use of cytarabine liposomal (the active ingredient contained in DepoCyt) This syndrome includes headache, fever, and back pain. The incidence and severity of chemical arachnoiditis may be reduced by coadministration with dexamethasone.

Hydrocephalus may have been precipitated by arachnoiditis.

Infectious meningitis may be associated with intrathecal drug administration.[Ref]

Nervous system side effects including headache (56%), arachnoiditis (42%) confusion (up to 33%) abnormal gait (up to 23%), convulsions (20%), dizziness (18%), memory impairment (14%), somnolence (12%), hypoesthesia (10%), tremor (9%), peripheral neuropathy (4%), syncope (3%), neuropathy (3%), peripheral sensory neuropathy (3%), and abnormal reflexes (3%) have been reported. Hydrocephalus, hemiplegia, visual disturbances (including blindness), deafness, and cranial nerve palsies, numbness, paresthesia, weakness, and impaired bowel and bladder control have also been reported.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea (46%), vomiting (up to 44%), constipation (25%), diarrhea (12%), nausea (11%), abdominal pain (9%), dysphagia (8%), constipation (7%), and hemorrhoids (3%) have been reported.[Ref]


Other side effects including weakness (40%), pyrexia (up to 32%), fatigue (25%), asthenia (19%), lethargy (16%), death (14%), pain (up to 14%), peripheral edema (11%), back pain (7%), hypoacusis (6%), fall (5%), mucosal inflammation (3%), and edema (2%) have been reported.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects including back pain (24%), pain in limb (15%), neck pain (14%), arthralgia (11%), neck stiffness (11%), and muscle weakness (10%) have been reported.[Ref]


Psychiatric side effects including insomnia (14%), agitation (10%), depression (8%), and anxiety (7%) have been reported.[Ref]


Renal side effects including urinary tract infection (14%) have been reported.[Ref]


Metabolic side effects including dehydration (13%), decreased appetite (11%), hyponatremia (7%), peripheral edema (7%), hypokalemia (7%), hyperglycemia (6%), and anorexia (5%) have been reported.[Ref]


Hematologic side effects including anemia (12%), thrombocytopenia (up to 11%), and neutropenia (up to 10%) have been reported.[Ref]


Ocular side effects including blurred vision (11%) have been reported.


Respiratory side effects including dyspnea (10%), cough (7%), and pneumonia (6%) have been reported.[Ref]


Cardiovascular side effects including tachycardia (9%), hypotension (8%), and hypertension (6%) have been reported.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects including urinary incontinence (7%) and urinary retention (5%) have been reported.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects including contusion (2%), pruritus (2%), and increased sweating (2%) have been reported.[Ref]


Oncologic side effects including a case of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma have been reported.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. DepoCyt (cytarabine liposomal)." Chiron Therapeutics, Emeryville, CA.

Not all side effects for DepoCyt may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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