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CYTARABINE, ARA-C (sye TARE a been) is a chemotherapy drug. This medicine reduces the growth of cancer cells and can suppress the immune system. It is used for treating leukemias or lymphomas. It is often given with other cancer drugs.
This medicine is for injection or infusion into a vein, or for injection under the skin. It may also be given into the spinal fluid. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a doctor or health care professional.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
low blood counts - this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine
signs of decreased red blood cells - unusually weak or tired, fainting spells, lightheadedness
changes in vision
feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
neck stiffness and/or pain
unsteady in walking
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
bone pain or muscle aches and pains
feeling tired and weak
loss of appetite
Talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:
It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.
This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
recent or ongoing radiation therapy
an unusual or allergic reaction to cytarabine or ARA-C, benzyl alcohol, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.
In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.
Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.
Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.
Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.
Do not have any vaccinations without your doctor's approval and avoid anyone who has recently had oral polio vaccine.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.