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DepoCyt Side Effects

Generic name: cytarabine liposomal

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 28, 2022.

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


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

Applies to cytarabine liposomal: intrathecal suspension.


  • This drug may cause brain irritation (chemical arachnoiditis). Death can happen if this is not treated. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, headache, upset stomach, throwing up, back pain, or neck stiffness or pain. You will be closely watched by your doctor.
  • Dexamethasone will be given before this drug to lower side effects.

Serious side effects of DepoCyt

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of fluid and electrolyte problems like mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, very bad dizziness or passing out, fast heartbeat, more thirst, seizures, feeling very tired or weak, not hungry, unable to pass urine or change in the amount of urine produced, dry mouth, dry eyes, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
  • Feeling very sleepy.
  • Not able to move.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Change in balance.
  • Seizures.
  • Very bad headache.
  • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Memory problems or loss.
  • Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • This drug may cause very bad and sometimes long-lasting nerve problems. Call your doctor right away if you have change in eyesight like loss of eyesight; change in hearing like hearing loss; not able to control bladder or bowels; burning, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet; or muscle weakness.

Other side effects of DepoCyt

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Headache.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Belly pain.
  • Back pain.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Shakiness.
  • Not hungry.
  • Joint pain.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cytarabine liposomal: intrathecal suspension.


Very common (10% or more): Vision blurred (11%)

Common (1% to 10%): Visual disturbances (including blindness)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Weakness (40%), pyrexia (32%), fatigue (25%), Lethargy (16%), pain (14%), peripheral edema (27%)

Common (1% to 10%): Fall, edema, hypacusis, deafness[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (56%), arachnoiditis (42%), abnormal gait (23%), convulsions (20%), dizziness (18%), memory impairment (14%),

hypoesthesia (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Tremor, peripheral neuropathy, neuropathy, peripheral sensory neuropathy, reflexes abnormal, myelopathy, hemiplegia, numbness, paresthesia, cranial nerve palsies

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Meningism

Frequency not reported: Neurotoxicity, transient elevations in CSF protein and CSF white blood cells[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Syncope, hypotension, hypertension, tachycardia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Anemia (12%), thrombocytopenia (11%), neutropenia (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Decreased platelet count[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Back pain (24%), pain in limb (15%), neck pain (14%), neck stiffness (11%), muscle weakness (10%)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Dehydration (13%), decreased appetite (11%)

Common (1% to 10%): Hyponatremia, hypokalemia, hyperglycemia, anorexia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Confusion (33%), insomnia (14%), agitation (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Depression, anxiety[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Urinary tract infection (14%)

Common (1% to 10%): Incontinence, urinary retention[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Dyspnea (25%), cough (17%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pneumonia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (46%), vomiting (44%), constipation (25%), diarrhea (12%)

Common (1% to 10%): Mucosal inflammation, abdominal pain, dysphagia, hemorrhoids, impaired bowel control[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Contusion, pruritus, increased sweating[Ref]

More about DepoCyt (cytarabine liposomal)

Patient resources

Related treatment guides


1. "Product Information. DepoCyt (cytarabine liposomal)." Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals (2003):

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.