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Active substance(s): CYTARABINE

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Cytarabine 100 mg/ml Injection
Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start using this
• Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
• If you have any further questions, ask your doctor.
• If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side
effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor.
In this leaflet:
1. What Cytarabine Injection is and what it is used for
2. What you need to know before you use Cytarabine Injection
3. How to use Cytarabine Injection
4. Possible side effects
5. How to store Cytarabine Injection
6. Contents of the pack and other information

Cytarabine Injection is an anti-cancer medicine. Treatment with an anti-cancer
medicine is sometimes called cancer chemotherapy.
Cytarabine Injection is used to treat some types of leukaemia (cancer affecting
the blood) and lymphomas (cancer of the lymph glands). It may be used in
combination with other anti-cancer medicines.

Do not use Cytarabine Injection
• if you have shown signs of hypersensitivity (severe allergy) to cytarabine in
the past, or any of the other ingredients of this medicine (listed in section 6)
• if your blood cell count (number of cells in your blood) is very low due to
some cause other than cancer (unless your doctor decides the benefits of
treatment outweigh the risks)
• if you have had severe effects on your brain (encephalopathy) after
radiation treatment or treatment with another anticancer medicine such as
• if you are pregnant (Unless your doctor considers the benefits to the mother
outweigh the risks to the unborn child)
Tell your doctor if you think any of the above applies to you before this medicine
is used.

Take special care with Cytarabine Injection
• if your blood cell count is low
• if you have any problems with your liver including jaundice (causes yellowing
of the skin)
• if you have recently received cancer medicine treatment or radiotherapy or
if you are due to have radiotherapy (the side effects of radiotherapy can be
made worse by cytarabine treatment)
• cytarabine strongly reduces blood cell production in the bone marrow and
your blood cell numbers can continue to fall for up to a week after stopping
treatment. Your doctor will test your blood regularly and examine your bone
marrow if required
• if your bone marrow is still recovering from the effects of other medicines
(your doctor will only consider treatment with cytarabine if absolutely
• serious and sometimes life-threatening side effects can occur in the central
nervous system, the bowels, the lungs or the heart especially when treated
with high doses of cytarabine
• the levels of uric acid (showing that the cancer cells are destroyed) in your
blood (hyperuricaemia) may be high during treatment. Your doctor will tell
you if you need to take any medicine to control this
• during treatment with cytarabine administration of certain vaccines is not
advised. If required, consult your doctor
• during treatment with cytarabine, granulocyte transfusion should be avoided
as severe breathing problems have been reported. Your doctor will determine
if this treatment is required
Tell your doctor if either of the above applies to you before this medicine is
used. Your doctor will monitor your blood to check your blood cell count, your
liver and kidney functions and to monitor for raised uric acid levels.
Special care will be taken if cytarabine is to be given to a child. Cytarabine
should not be used in infants.

Taking/using other medicines
Special care is needed if you are taking/using other medicines as some could
interact with cytarabine.
The effectiveness of the following medicines may be reduced or increased by
• digoxin or beta-acetyldigoxin tablets (heart medicine)
• gentamicin (an antibiotic)
• 5-fluorocytosine (a medicine used to treat fungal infections)
• other medicines which decrease the activity of the immune system
Please tell your doctor if you are taking or have recently taken any other
medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or
breast-feeding. Your doctor will decide if you should receive this medicine.
Avoid becoming pregnant while you or your partner is being treated with
cytarabine. As there is a risk of birth defects, women of childbearing potential
or their partner should use appropriate contraception methods during and up to
6 months after treatment with cytarabine to prevent pregnancy.
You should stop breast-feeding before starting treatment with cytarabine
because this medicine may be harmful to infants being breast-fed.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine.

Driving and using machines
Do not drive or use machines if you experience any side effect which may
lessen your ability to do so.

This medicine may be given by injection (using a syringe) under the skin
(subcutaneous) or into a vein (intravenous). It may also be given by infusion
(drip) into a vein. If given as an infusion, Cytarabine Injection will be diluted first.
Cytarabine 100 mg/ml Injection must not be injected intrathecally (into the

Your doctor will work out the correct dose of cytarabine for you and how often it
must be given.
The dose will depend on your medical condition, your size and how well your
liver is working. Your doctor will tell how well your liver is working using blood
You will have regular blood tests after your dose of cytarabine to check for side
effects. These tests may be done more often if you are elderly, as you may be
more likely to get side effects. Treatment may have to be stopped if your blood
cell count drops too low.

If you are given too much or too little Cytarabine Injection
This medicine will be given to you in a hospital, under the supervision of a
doctor. It is unlikely that you will be given too much or too little, however, tell
your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns.

Like all medicines, Cytarabine Injection can cause side effects, although not
everybody gets them.

If any of the following happen, tell your doctor or nursing staff
• sore mouth, particularly if you have a number of ulcers inside of the mouth
• severe allergic reaction - you may experience a sudden itchy rash (hives),
swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, face, lips, mouth or throat (which may
cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing), and you may feel you are going
to faint
• symptoms of an infection, e.g. fever, chills, aches or soreness when
• unexpected bleeding e.g. bleeding gums, blood in urine or vomit, unexpected
• black tarry stools which may indicate bleeding in the digestive system
• severe pain in the chest and difficulty breathing (this maybe a symptom of
• severe pain in the abdomen (this may be a symptom of inflammation of the
• loss of vision, loss of sense of touch, mental disturbance or loss of ability to
move normally (this medicine may cause side effects to the brain and eyes
which are usually reversible but may be very serious)
These are serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention.

Cytarabine 100 mg/ml Injection
The following information is intended for medical or healthcare
professionals only
Further to the information included in section 3, practical information on the
preparation/handling of the medicinal product is provided here.
Cytarabine 100 mg/ml Injection should not be administered by the
intrathecal route due to the slight hypertonicity of this formulation.

Solutions of cytarabine have been reported to be incompatible with various
drugs, i.e. carbenicillin sodium, cephalothin sodium, fluorouracil, gentamicin
sulphate, heparin sodium, hydrocortisone sodium succinate, insulin-regular,
methylprednisolone sodium succinate, nafacillin sodium, oxacillin sodium,
penicillin G sodium. However, the incompatibility depends on several
factors (e.g. concentrations of the drug, specific diluents used, resulting
pH, temperature). Specialised references should be consulted for specific
compatibility information.


If you experience any of the following tell your doctor as soon as
The side effects of cytarabine are dependent on the dose. The digestive tract is
most commonly affected, but also the blood.
Common side effects which may affect up to 1 person in 10 are listed
• decrease in cells responsible for providing immunity, carrying oxygen around
the body and for normal blood clotting shown as a reduction in the amount
of red and white cells and platelets in the blood or abnormal red blood cells,
anaemia, shortness of breath, unexpected bleeding e.g. bleeding gums,
blood in urine or vomit, unexpected bruises
• loss of appetite
• high levels of uric acid in your blood due to the breakdown of cancer cells
during treatment with cytarabine (your doctor will monitor for this)
• reduced consciousness, speaking difficulties, abnormal eye movements
• reversible effects on the eyes such as sore eyes with bleeding (haemorrhagic
conjunctivitis), vision disturbance, sensitivity to light (photophobia), watery or
burning eyes and inflammation of the surface of the eye (cornea) (keratitis)
• feeling or being sick, diarrhoea, sores or ulcers in the mouth or anus (back
passage), mild pain in the abdomen
• reversible effects on the liver such as increased enzyme levels
• reversible effects to the skin such as reddening (erythema), blistering, rash,
hives, blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis)
• hair loss
• impaired / disturbed kidney function, problems passing urine
• fever
• blood clots causing inflammation at the site of injection
Uncommon side effects which may affect up to 1 person in 100 are listed
• whole body infection (sepsis) seen as a fever, vomiting, confusion, dizziness,
• lung infection
• headache
• numbness or weakness of the arms and legs, paralysis of the legs and lower
body when cytarabine is given into the space surrounding the spinal cord
• inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart
• shortness of breath
• sore throat
• inflammation of the food pipe (oesophagus), ulcers in the food pipe
• bowel cysts, severe bowel inflammation, serious infection of the membrane
that lines the abdomen (peritonitis)
• brown/black spots on the skin (lentigo), ulceration of the skin, itching
• painful redness and blistering on the hands and the soles of the feet
• joint and muscle pain
• inflammation at the site of injection
Very rare side effects which may affect up to 1 person in 10,000 are listed
• irregular heart beat (arrhythmia)
• redness and itchy bumps on hands or legs, associated with inflammation of
the sweat glands
Not known (cannot be estimated from available data) side effects are
listed below:
• low counts of pre-stages of red cells in the blood (reticulocytopenia)
• dizziness, inflammation of a nerve or part of the nervous system, damage to
nerve tissues and pain
• sore or itchy eyes
• black tarry stools which may indicate bleeding in the digestive system
• impaired liver function
• yellowing of the skin or yellowing of the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
• skin rash, pigmented spots on the skin (freckles), skin bleeding
• kidneys may not work properly
• lack of periods and low sperm count (Amenorrhoea and azoospermia)
• chest pain
• irritation or infection at the site of injection
• bleeding of the lining of the mouth
The side effects on the digestive tract are less if cytarabine is given by infusion
rather than by bolus injection. Your doctor may prescribe local steroids (antiinflammatory medicines) to reduce effects on the eyes such as sore eyes with
bleeding (haemorrhagic conjunctivitis).
Cytarabine may lead to changes in your blood cells. Your doctor will take blood
samples to monitor for these and also to check how well your liver and kidneys
are working.
Sometimes the following side effects can occur together, usually 6-12 hours
after receiving cytarabine:
• feeling generally unwell with a high temperature
• pain in bone, muscle and occasionally the chest
• rash
• sore eyes
This is known as ‘cytarabine syndrome’ and it can be treated. If you experience
these side effects please tell your doctor or nurse as soon as possible.
Side effects after high dose Cytarabine treatment:
Severe and at times fatal side effects on the blood, eyes, lungs, nervous
system, liver, digestive or genital system have been reported after using
experimental dose schedules. The side effects have included severe bone
marrow suppression, reversible effects on the cornea (surface of the eye),
effects on the brain (usually reversible), drowsiness and convulsion, ulcers
in the digestive system which may lead to infection of your abdominal lining
(peritonitis), inflammation of the pancreas, liver abscess or enlargement,
blood clots in the vein in the liver, blood infection, fluid in the lungs, absence of
menstrual periods in women or complete lack of sperm in the ejaculate in men,
heart muscle disease or abnormal muscle breakdown, which may lead to kidney
problems (rhabdomyolysis).
If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not
listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor.

Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This
includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet.
You can also report side effects directly via:
United Kingdom
Yellow Card Scheme
By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of
this medicine.

Keep out of the reach and sight of children

This medicine must not be used after the expiry date which is stated on the vial
and carton after ‘EXP’. Where only a month and year is stated, the expiry date
refers to the last day of that month.

The vial should be kept in the outer carton, in order to protect from light, and
stored at, or below, 25°C.
Do not refrigerate or freeze.

What Cytarabine Injection contains
The active substance is cytarabine. Each millilitre (ml) of solution contains
100 milligrams (mg) of cytarabine.
The other ingredient is Water for Injections.

What Cytarabine Injection looks like and contents of the pack
Cytarabine Injection is a clear, colourless solution for injection which comes in
glass containers called vials.
It may be supplied in packs containing:
• 1, 5, 10 or 20 x 100 mg/1 ml vials
• 1, 5, 10 or 20 x 500 mg/5 ml vials
• 1, 5, 10 or 20 x 1 g/10 ml vials
• 1, 5, 10 or 20 x 2 g/20 ml vials
Not all packs may be marketed.

Marketing authorisation holder and manufacturer responsible for batch
release in Europe
Hospira UK Limited, Queensway, Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire,
CV31 3RW, UK

Hospira Australia Pty Ltd, Lexia Place, Mulgrave, Victoria 3170, Australia
This leaflet was last approved in 03/2014

Use and handling
Do not refrigerate or freeze
Cytarabine 100 mg/ml Injection is a ready to use injection but it can be diluted
with Sterile Water for Injections BP, Glucose Intravenous Infusion BP or Sodium
Chloride Intravenous Infusion BP.
Chemical and physical in-use stability has been demonstrated for 7 days at
room temperature.
From a microbiological point of view, the product should be used immediately. If
not used immediately, in-use storage times and conditions are the responsibility
of the user and would normally not be longer than 24 hours, unless dilution has
taken place in controlled and validated aseptic conditions.
Prior to use, vials of Cytarabine 100 mg/ml Injection must be warmed to
55°C, for 30 minutes, with adequate shaking, and allowed to cool to room


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Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.