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Pegaspargase Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to pegaspargase: solution

Along with its needed effects, pegaspargase may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking pegaspargase:

More common
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • blurry vision
  • constipation
  • dry mouth and skin
  • faintness
  • fatigue
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • increased hunger or thirst
  • increased need to urinate
  • nausea
  • skin paleness
  • skin rash
  • sweating
  • troubled breathing
  • unexplained weight loss
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • vomiting
Less common
  • Bloating
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • cough
  • darkened urine
  • difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever or chills
  • headache
  • hives or itching
  • indigestion
  • itching, especially of hands and feet
  • loss of appetite
  • numbness, tingling, or swelling in arms or legs
  • pains in stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips or tongue
  • reddening of the skin, especially around ears
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of eyes, face, or inside of nose
  • tightness in chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)
  • wheezing
  • yellow eyes or skin
  • Black, tarry stools
  • blood in urine
  • hoarseness
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pinpoint red spots on skin

Some side effects of pegaspargase may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • General feeling of discomfort or illness
Less common
  • Anxiety
  • behavior change similar to drunkenness
  • blurred vision
  • cold sweats
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • cool pale skin
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • drowsiness
  • lack of appetite
  • nervousness
  • nightmares
  • pain at place of injection
  • pain in joints or muscles
  • restless sleep
  • shakiness
  • slurred speech

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to pegaspargase: injectable solution


The most commonly reported side effects were elevated transaminases and clinical allergic reactions to asparaginase (including bronchospasm, hypotension, laryngeal edema, local erythema or swelling, systemic rash, and urticaria).[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Clinical allergic reactions to asparaginase, including bronchospasm, hypotension, laryngeal edema, local erythema or swelling, systemic rash, and urticaria (non-hypersensitive patients up to 10%; previously hypersensitive patients up to 32%)

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Central nervous system thrombosis/hemorrhage


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


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


Common (1% to 10%): Coagulopathy (prolonged prothrombin time or partial thromboplastin time; or hypofibrinogenemia)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Elevated transaminases (up to 11%)
Common (1% to 10%): Hyperbilirubinemia
Frequency not reported: Hepatotoxicity, abnormal liver function[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hyperglycemia (requiring insulin therapy)
Frequency not reported: Glucose intolerance


1. "Product Information. Oncaspar (pegaspargase)." Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Collegeville, PA.

Some side effects of pegaspargase may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

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