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Generic Name: azacitidine (ay za SYE ti deen)
Brand Names: Vidaza

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Sep 1, 2020.

What is Vidaza?

Vidaza (azacitidine) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Vidaza is used to treat certain types of bone marrow cancers and blood cell disorders.

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

Important information

You should not receive Vidaza if you have advanced liver cancer.

Vidaza can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. You may get an infection or bleed more easily. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, body aches).

Before taking this medicine

You should not receive Vidaza if you are allergic to azacitidine or mannitol, or if you have:

  • advanced liver cancer.

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

  • kidney disease; or

  • liver disease.

Both men and women using Vidaza should use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. Azacitidine can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects if the mother or father is using this medicine.

You should not breastfeed while receiving azacitidine and for at least 1 week after your last dose.

How is Vidaza given?

Vidaza is injected under the skin, or into a vein through an IV infusion. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

This medicine is usually given for 7 days in a row every 4 weeks for at least 4 treatment cycles. Your treatment schedule may be different. Follow your doctor's instructions.

You may also be given medications to reduce nausea and vomiting while you are receiving Vidaza.

If Vidaza accidentally gets on your skin, wash the area thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Azacitidine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your kidney function may also need to be tested. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results.

Vidaza dosing information

Usual Adult Dose of Vidaza for Myelodysplastic Syndrome:

For use in the treatment of patients with the following myelodysplastic syndrome subtypes: refractory anemia or refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts (if accompanied by neutropenia or thrombocytopenia or requiring transfusions), refractory anemia with excess blasts, refractory anemia with excess blasts in transformation, and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

Initial Dose: 75 mg/m2 subcutaneously or intravenously daily for 7 days, every 4 weeks.

Maintenance Dose: The dose may be increased to 100 mg/m2 if no beneficial effect is seen after two treatment cycles and if no toxicity other than nausea and vomiting has occurred. It is recommended that patients be treated for a minimum of 4 cycles. However, complete or partial response may require more than 4 treatment cycles. Treatment may be continued as long as the patient continues to benefit.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Vidaza injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using Vidaza?

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using Vidaza, or you could develop a serious infection. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Vidaza side effects

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

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe ongoing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;

  • redness, swelling, warmth, oozing, or other signs of skin infection;

  • stabbing chest pain, wheezing, cough with yellow or green mucus, feeling short of breath;

  • low blood cell counts - fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath;

  • kidney problems - lower back pain, blood in your urine, little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles;

  • liver problems - upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • low potassium - leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, extreme thirst, increased urination, muscle weakness or limp feeling; or

  • signs of tumor cell breakdown - confusion, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, fast or slow heart rate, decreased urination, tingling in your hands and feet or around your mouth.

Common Vidaza side effects may include:

  • fever, chills, bruising, or other signs of low blood cell counts;

  • nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea;

  • weakness; or

  • redness or other irritation where the injection was given.

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.

What other drugs will affect Vidaza?

Other drugs may interact with azacitidine, 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.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Vidaza only for the indication prescribed.

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