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Cytarabine injection

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.



COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Cytosar-U, Tarabine PFS

WARNING: This medication will be given where you can be closely monitored by your doctor because serious, even fatal, blood disorders (e.g., anemia, bone marrow suppression) have been caused by this medication. Liver problems may also develop. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop fever, unusual fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, persistent sore throat, easy bruising or bleeding, abdominal or stomach pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes or skin, or mouth sores.


Cytarabine is one of a large group of drugs known as "antineoplastics"; these drugs are also known as cancer drugs, chemotherapy, or "chemo". They are used in the treatment of various cancers to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. A combination of different types of cancer drugs will often be used to achieve better results and minimize side effects.

How To Use

This is a potent medication. Use it exactly as prescribed. Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, drink plenty of fluids while using this medication. This helps your kidneys to remove the drug from your body and avoid some of the side effects. Do not stop using this medication, even if you feel nauseated or experience vomiting.

Side Effects

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, itching, freckling, diarrhea, dizziness are common side effects. Using the drug on an empty stomach may help to relieve vomiting. Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limited activity may help lessen some of these effects. In some cases, drug therapy may be necessary to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Temporary hair loss is another common side effect. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended. Contact your doctor without delay if you experience any of the following symptoms: fever, chills, painful or difficult urination, chest pain, heartburn, difficulty swallowing, easy bruising or bleeding, black or tarry stools, blood in urine or stools, pinpoint red spots on the skin, joint/back/side pain, swollen feet or lower legs, sores in the mouth or on the lips, yellowing of the eyes or skin, dark urine, shortness of breath, bone or muscle pain, severe stomach pain. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


Tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: kidney or liver problems, gout, infections, allergies (especially drug allergies). Contraceptive (birth control) measures are recommended for use in men and women while using this medication. A preservative (benzyl alcohol) which may be found in this product or in the liquid used to mix this product (diluent) can infrequently cause serious problems (sometimes death) if given by injection to an infant during the first months of life (neonatal period). The risk is greater with lower birth weight infants and is greater with increased amounts of benzyl alcohol. Symptoms include sudden gasping, low blood pressure, or a very slow heartbeat. Report these symptoms to the doctor immediately should they occur. If possible, a preservative-free product should be used when treating neonates. Cytarabine is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for details. It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription drugs you may use, especially of: medicines used for gout. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.


If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.


This medication can lower your body's ability to fight an infection. Notify your doctor if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, sore throat, rash or chills. Avoid touching your eyes or inside your nose without first washing your hands. Use caution with sharp objects like safety razors or nail cutters and avoid activities such as contact sports in order to lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured. Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine. Regular doctor visits are important. Frequent blood tests will be done to monitor therapy.

Missed Dose

Do not double dose if missed. Contact your doctor.


Refrigerate piggyback or infusion device. Warm to room temperature before infusing. Check expiration date. Store vial at room temperature away from sunlight.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).