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Leustatin

Last reviewed on RxList: 11/16/2016
Leustatin Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Cladribine Novaplus, Leustatin

Generic Name: cladribine (Pronunciation: KLAD ri been)

What is cladribine (Leustatin)?

Cladribine is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Cladribine is used to treat hairy cell leukemia (a type of blood cancer).

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

What are the possible side effects of cladribine (Leustatin)?

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

Tell your caregivers at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • numbness, tingling, weakness, or burning pain in your fingers or toes;
  • numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • redness, swelling, or itching under your skin;
  • lower back pain, blood in your urine, urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction, overactive reflexes;
  • fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, feeling short of breath;
  • pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine, fever, confusion;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin; or
  • signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, cough with yellow or green mucus, loss of appetite, mouth sores, unusual weakness.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache, tired feeling;
  • nausea, diarrhea, constipation;
  • mild itching or skin rash;
  • cough; or
  • pain, swelling, or irritation around the IV needle.

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 Leustatin (cladribine injection for intravenous infusion only) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about cladribine (Leustatin)?

Do not use cladribine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

Before you receive cladribine, tell your doctor If you have liver or kidney disease or a bone marrow problem.

Cladribine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood may need to be tested often. Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding injury. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using cladribine, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you.

Tell your caregivers at once if you have a serious side effect such as numbness or tingling, weakness or burning pain in your fingers or toes, lower back pain, blood in your urine, urinating less than usual, muscle weakness or tightness, pale or yellowed skin, easy bruising or bleeding, dark colored urine, or feeling like you might pass out.

Leustatin Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving cladribine (Leustatin)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to it.

To make sure cladribine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, or a bone marrow problem.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use cladribine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether cladribine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are receiving cladribine.

How is cladribine given (Leustatin)?

Cladribine is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting.

Cladribine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and you will receive it around the clock for 7 days in a row. Your doctor will determine how many 7- day treatments you will receive and how often.

You may receive other medications to help prevent certain side effects of cladribine.

Cladribine 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 cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests. Visit your doctor regularly.

Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, cough with yellow or green mucus, loss of appetite, mouth sores, unusual weakness.

Leustatin Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose (Leustatin)?

Since this medication is given in a healthcare setting around the clock, you will not miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose (Leustatin)?

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

Overdose symptoms may include severe forms of some of the side effects listed in this medication guide.

What should I avoid while receiving cladribine (Leustatin)?

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

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using cladribine, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), oral polio, rotavirus, smallpox, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

What other drugs will affect cladribine (Leustatin)?

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially drugs that weaken your immune system such as:

  • any other cancer medications;
  • cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf);
  • sirolimus (Rapamune), tacrolimus (Prograf);
  • basiliximab (Simulect), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone);
  • mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept);
  • azathioprine (Imuran), leflunomide (Arava), etanercept (Enbrel); or
  • steroids such as prednisone, dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol) fluticasone (Flonase, Advair), methylprednisolone (Medrol), mometasone (Asmanex, Nasonex), and others.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with cladribine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about cladribine.


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

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