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DepoCyt Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 2/11/2016

DepoCyt (cytarabine liposome) Injection 50 mg is a cytotoxic anticancer drug used to treat lymphoma associated with meningitis. Common side effects of DepoCyt include mild nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, swelling in hands and feet, headache, dizziness, tired feeling, joint pain, back pain, pain in arms or legs, insomnia, fever, blurred vision, muscle weakness, and shortness of breath.

This medication is administered in 50 mg doses through needle injection into the space around your spinal cord. Talk to your doctor about the number of doses recommended for you. You should not take DepoCyt if you have an active meningitis infection. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience nausea, and vomiting with headache as these may be early signs of central nervous system damage. DepoCyt may interact with other drugs. Before taking DepoCyt tell your doctor about all medical conditions and medications you use. It is not recommended to take DepoCyt if you are nursing or pregnant.

Our DepoCyt (cytarabine liposome injection) 50 mg Vial Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

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 is Patient Information in Detail?

Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.

DepoCyt in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects

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

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • nausea and vomiting with headache and fever;
  • neck stiffness or pain, seizure (convulsions);
  • extreme drowsiness, loss of muscle control;
  • confusion, personality changes, problems with memory or concentration, sleep problems, agitation;
  • problems with speech, vision, hearing, or balance,
  • numbness, tingling, or burning pain that interferes with daily activities;
  • loss of bladder or bowel control;
  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin; or
  • flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea or vomiting;
  • diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain;
  • swelling in your hands or feet;
  • dizziness, tired feeling;
  • joint pain, back pain; or
  • pain in your arms or legs.

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.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for DepoCyt (Cytarabine Liposome Injection)

What is Patient Information Overview?

A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.

DepoCyt Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects

SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea, vomiting, or fever may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.

Many people using this medication have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: headache, tingling/numbness, muscle pain, back pain, neck pain/stiffness, seizures, swelling, loss of bladder/bowel control, unusual weakness/tiredness, easy bruising/bleeding, signs of infection (e.g., persistent sore throat), mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion).

Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: weakness/loss of movement on one side of the body, vision changes (including blindness), hearing changes.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Read the entire patient information overview for DepoCyt (Cytarabine Liposome Injection)

What is Prescribing information?

The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.

DepoCyt FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
(Adverse Reactions)


The toxicity database consists of the observations made during Phase 1-4 studies. The most common adverse reactions in all patients and in patients with lymphoma are shown in Table 2 below.

Arachnoiditis is an expected and well-documented side effect of both neoplastic meningitis and of intrathecal chemotherapy. The incidence of severe and life-threatening arachnoiditis in patients receiving DepoCyt was 19% (48/257) in all patients and 30% (10/33) in patients with lymphomatous meningitis. The incidence of symptoms possibly reflecting meningeal irritation are shown in Table 3.

In the early dose-finding study, chemical arachnoiditis was observed in 100% of cycles without dexamethasone prophylaxis. When concurrent dexamethasone was administered, chemical arachnoiditis was observed in 33% of cycles. Patients receiving DepoCyt should be treated concurrently with dexamethasone to mitigate the symptoms of chemical arachnoiditis (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Table 2: Incidence of adverse reactions occurring in > 10% of patients in all Phase 1-4 adult study patients and in patients with lymphomatous meningitis receiving DepoCyt 50 mg or an active comparator

System Organ Class / Preferred Term All DepoCyt (N=257) Lymphoma
Depo Cyt (N=33) Ara-C (N=28)
Nervous System Disorders
  Headache NOS 144(56%) 17(52%) 9(32%)
  Arachnoiditis   108(42%) 14(42%) 10(36%)
  Confusion   86(33%) 12(36%) 3(11%)
  Gait abnormal NOS 60(23%) 7(21%) 8(29%)
  Convulsions NOS 52(20%) 7(21%) 1(4%)
  Dizziness NOS 47(18%) 7(21%) 6(21%)
  Memory impairment 36(14%) 4(12%) 1(4%)
  Hypoaesthesia 26(10%) 4(12%) 3(11%)
  Tremor 22(9%) 5(15%) 5(18%)
  Peripheral neuropathy NOS 9(4%) 4(12%) 1(4%)
  Syncope 8(3%) 00%) 3(11%)
  Neuropathy NOS 7(3%) 3(9%) 3(11%)
  Peripheral sensory neuropathy 7(3%) 2(6%) 3(11%)
  Reflexes abnormal 7(3%) 0(0%) 3(11%)
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions
  Weakness 103(40%) 13(39%) 15(54%)
  Pyrexia 81(32%) 15(45%) 12(43%)
  Fatigue 64(25%) 9(27%) 13(46%)
  Lethargy 41(16%) 4(12%) 4(14%)
  Death NOS   35(14%) 9(27%) 5(18%)
  Pain NOS 35(14%) 3(9%) 5(18%)
  Oedema peripheral 27(11%) 6(18%) 7(25%)
  Fall 12(5%) 0(0%) 3(11%)
  Mucosal inflammation NOS 8(3%) 4(12%) 2(7%)
  Oedema NOS 6(2%) 1(3%) 6(21%)
Gastrointestinal Disorders
  Nausea 117(46%) 11(33%) 15(54%)
  Vomiting NOS 112(44%) 11(33%) 9(32%)
  Constipation 64(25%) 8(24%) 7(25%)
  Diarrhoea NOS 31(12%) 9(27%) 9(32%)
  Abdominal pain NOS 22(9%) 5(15%) 4(14%)
  Dysphagia 20(8%) 3(9%) 3(11%)
  Haemorrhoids 8(3%) 0(0%) 3(11%)
Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders
  Back pain 61(24%) 7(21%) 5(18%)
  Pain in limb 39(15%) 4(12%) 8(29%)
  Neck pain 36(14%) 5(15%) 3(11%)
  Arthralgia 29(11%) 3(9%) 4(14%)
  Neck stiffness 28(11%) 2(6%) 4(14%)
  Muscle weakness NOS 25(10%) 5(15%) 2(7%)
Psychiatric Disorders
  Insomnia 35(14%) 6(18%) 7(25%)
  Agitation 26(10%) 5(15%) 2(7%)
  Depression 21(8%) 6(18%) 4(14%)
  Anxiety 17(7%) 1(3%) 3(11%)
Infections and Infestations
  Urinary tract infection NOS 35(14%) 6(18%) 5(18%)
  Pneumonia NOS 16(6%) 2(6%) 3(11%)
Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders
  Dehydration 33(13%) 6(18%) 3(11%)
  Appetite decreased NOS 29(11%) 4(12%) 3(11%)
  Hyponatraemia 18(7%) 4(12%) 1(4%)
  Hypokalaemia 17(7%) 5(15%) 2(7%)
  Hyperglycaemia 15(6%) 4(12%) 2(7%)
  Anorexia 14(5%) 1(3%) 5(18%)
  Platelet count decreased  8(3%) 00%) 3(11%)
Renal and Urinary Disorders
  Incontinence NOS 19(7%) 3(9%) 5(18%)
  Urinary retention 14(5%) 00%) 3(11%)
Respiratory, Thoracic and Mediastinal Disorders
  Dyspnoea NOS 25(10%) 4(12%) 6(21%)
  Cough 17(7%) 3(9%) 6(21%)
Eye Disorders
  Vision blurred 29(11%) 4(12%) 4(14%)
Blood and Lymphatic Disorders
  Anaemia NOS 31(12%) 6(18%) 5(18%)
  Thrombocytopenia 27(11%) 8(24%) 9(32%)
  Neutropenia 26(10%) 12(36%) 7(25%)
Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders
  Contusion 6(2%) 1(3%) 3(11%)
  Pruritus NOS 6(2%) 00%) 4(14%)
  Sweating increased 6(2%) 1(3%) 3(11%)
Vascular Disorders
  Hypotension NOS 21(8%) 6(18%) 2(7%)
  Hypertension NOS 15(6%) 5(15%) 1(4%)
Ear and Labyrinth Disorders
  Hypoacusis 15(6%) 6(18%) 3(11%)
Cardiac Disorders 
  Tachycardia NOS 22(9%) 00%) 5(18%)
Neoplasms Benign, Malignant and Unspecified (Incl Cysts and Polyps)
  Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma NOS 10%) 1(3%) 3(11%)

Table 3: Incidence of adverse reactions possibly reflecting meningeal irritation occurring in > 10% of all studied adult patients receiving DepoCyt 50 mg or an active comparator*

System Organ Class / Preferred Term DepoCyt
Nervous System Disorders
Headache NOS 145 (56%) 33(42%) 9(32%)
Arachnoiditis 108 (42%) 15(19%) 10(36%)
Convulsions NOS 56 (22%) 11(14%) 1(4%)
Gastrointestinal Disorders
Nausea 117 (46%) 24(31%) 15(54%)
Vomiting NOS 112 (44%) 22(28%) 9(32%)
Musculoskeltal and Connective Tissue Disorders
Back pain 61 (24%) 15(19%) 5(18%)
Neck pain 36 (14%) 6(8%) 3(11%)
Neck stiffness 28 (11%) 1(1%) 4(14%)
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions
Pyrexia 81 (32%) 15(19%) 12(43%)
* Hydrocephalus acquired, CSF pleocytosis and meningism occurred in ≤ 10% of all studied adult patients receiving DepoCyt or an active comparator

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for DepoCyt (Cytarabine Liposome Injection)

DepoCyt - User Reviews

DepoCyt User Reviews

Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.

Here is a collection of user reviews for the medication DepoCyt sorted by most helpful. Patient Discussions FAQs

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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