Generic Name: CYTARABINE
Pronunciation: (sye tare' a been)
Trade Name(s): Cytrosar, Cytarine, Cytarabin, Cytabin
Why it is prescribed: Your doctor has ordered the drug cytarabine to help treat your illness. The drug probably will be injected under the skin of your forearm or into a vein. In special situations, it may be injected into the spinal cord. Cytarabine resembles normal cell nutrients needed by cancer cells to grow, so the cancer cells take up cytarabine by mistake. Once in these cells, cytarabine interferes with their growth. In addition to cytarabine, your doctor may have ordered other cancer-fighting drugs; this treatment is called combination therapy. Your doctor may measure the effectiveness of your treatment using laboratory tests and physical examinations. In general, the length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.
When it is to be taken: It can be given into the fluid around the spinal cord through a lumbar puncture.It can also given as an injection just under the skin or as an injection into the vein.
How it should be taken: The purpose of chemotherapy is to control your illness so that your own body can aid in your recovery. It is important to build up your body's defense system, and a balanced diet is needed to build a healthy body. Ask your doctor for advice on your diet.
1. It is especially important to prevent infection and injuries.
2. Avoid people with contagious diseases such as the flu.
3. Keep all cuts and scratches clean.
4. Maintain good personal hygiene, including hand washing and mouth care.
5. To avoid injuries, shave with an electric razor instead of blades and wear protective clothing.
6. Tell your doctor if you regularly take any medication, especially digoxin, do not take any medications, especially those containing aspirin, without your doctor's advice.
7. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. It is important to take regular care of your mouth to prevent infection.
8. Brush with a soft-bristle toothbrush or cotton swab.
9. Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol or lots of salt because they can irritate your mouth.
10. It is also important to eat well. Careful food selection will allow your mouth to heal while providing good nutrition. If your mouth becomes dry, eat moist foods, drink plenty of fluids, and suck on sugarless hard candy.
11. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and citrus juices.
1. Although not everyone experiences side effects during chemotherapy, some people do. If any of the effects becomes intolerable, let your doctor know.
2. You may lose your appetite, or your appetite may be greater in the morning or at different times during the day than usual. Take advantage of these times and eat. Frequent small meals or snacks throughout the day may be easier to tolerate and will help you get the nutrients your body needs.
3. Common discomforts are nausea and vomiting. These problems may last up to 24 hours after treatment. Your doctor may have ordered anti-nausea medications to prevent you from feeling sick. Avoid eating favorite foods, large meals, and spicy or hot foods when you feel nauseated.
4. Cytarabine may cause a decrease in the number of blood cells. These cells include white blood cells that fight infection, red blood cells that carry oxygen and energy, and platelets that help clot blood and promote healing.
5. Abdominal pain, with or without diarrhea, may occur. If you have diarrhea, replace lost fluids, by drinking more liquids than usual. Also, a high-fiber diet may help control diarrhea.
6. Cytarbine may affect the lining of your mouth, causing redness, irritation, or sores. You may experience a sore throat or mouth pain.
7. Cytarabine has caused fever, with or without chills, in some patients. These symptoms usually occur during the treatment and stop after the treatment is discontinued. Drink plenty of fluids when a fever is present unless your doctor tells you otherwise. If the fever or chills continue, let your doctor know.
8. You may also experience weakness, aching and headache, but these symptoms generally do not last long.
9. If you notice any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor as soon as possible: sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising, change in normal bowel habits for more than two days, muscle weakness, walking or handwriting difficulties, cough, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
1. Do not take aspirin or aspirin-substitute products without your doctor's advice.
2. Try to maintain your normal activity schedule, but avoid stressful situations and be careful not to overexert yourself.
3. Remember to take a break and rest whenever you fell tired.
4. You should not assume that you cannot get pregnant just because you are on chemotherapy.
5. You should not plan to have children while receiving chemotherapy or for a while after treatments.
6. Use a reliable method of birth control.
7. Your doctor may order tests before, during, and after your treatment to see if your blood
cells are affected by the drug.
Storage Conditions: Procedures for proper handling and disposal of anti cancer drugs should be considered.