Treats a certain type of cancer called hairy cell leukemia.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to pentostatin or if you are pregnant.
How to Use This Medicine
- Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
- A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
- Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
If a dose is missed:
- This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using allopurinol (Zyloprim®) or any other cancer medicines such as carmustine (BICNU®), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®, Neosar®), etoposide (Vepesid®, VP-16®), or vidarabine (Vira-A®).
- You should not use aspirin or any product that has aspirin in it (such as some cold medicines) unless you have talked to your doctor.
- You should not use fludarabine (Fludara®) while you are using this medicine.
- Tell your doctor if you have been treated with steroids, radiation, or other cancer medicines.
- Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
- Do not breastfeed while you are being given this medicine.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you have kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, low blood pressure, kidney stones, gout, or any type of infection.
- If you develop a skin rash or any allergic reaction to this medicine, stop using the medicine and check with your doctor as soon as possible.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
- This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
- Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
- Blood in your urine or stools.
- Confusion, extreme tiredness, fainting, or drowsiness.
- Cough, fever, chills, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, or body aches.
- Decrease in how much or how often you urinate.
- Shortness of breath or troubled breathing.
- Skin wound that does not heal or looks infected.
- Swelling in your hands, ankles, feet, or face.
- Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas, or stomach pain or upset.
- Mild skin rash or itching.
- Muscle or joint pain.
- Nervousness, depression, or trouble sleeping.
- Pain, redness, or swelling where the needle is placed.
- Tooth pain, swelling in your gums, or mouth sores.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Review Date: 2011-02-04