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All about: Nipent

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Generic Name: pentostatin (PEN toe stah tin)
Brand Names: Nipent

What is Nipent (pentostatin)?

Pentostatin is a cancer (antineoplastic) medication. Pentostatin interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

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

Pentostatin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Nipent (pentostatin)?

Pentostatin should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Serious side effects have been reported with the use of pentostatin including: allergic reactions (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); blood and bone marrow problems; kidney problems; liver problems; lung problems; nervous system problems; and others. Talk to your doctor about the possible side effects from treatment with pentostatin.

Who should not take Nipent (pentostatin)?

Before taking pentostatin, tell your doctor if you

  • have had recent vaccinations;

  • have any type of infection;

  • have liver disease;
  • have kidney disease;
  • have breathing or respiratory problems;

  • have bone marrow problems; or

  • have bleeding or blood clotting problems.

You may not be able to take pentostatin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Pentostatin is in the FDA pregnancy category D. This means that pentostatin is known to cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not take pentostatin without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Contraceptive measures are recommended during treatment with pentostatin. It is not known whether pentostatin passes into breast milk. Do not take pentostatin without first talking to your doctor if you are breast feeding a baby.

How should I take Nipent (pentostatin)?

Pentostatin should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Your doctor will determine the correct amount and frequency of treatment with pentostatin depending upon the type of cancer being treated and other factors. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding the treatment schedule.

Your doctor will probably want you to have regularly scheduled blood tests and other medical evaluations during treatment with pentostatin to monitor progress and side effects.

Your healthcare provider will store pentostatin as directed by the manufacturer. If you are storing pentostatin, follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of pentostatin injection.

What happens if I overdose?

If for any reason an overdose of pentostatin is suspected, seek emergency medical attention or contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Symptoms of a pentostatin overdose tend to be similar to side effects caused by the medication, although often more severe.

What should I avoid while taking Nipent (pentostatin)?

Pentostatin can lower the activity of your immune system making you susceptible to infections. Avoid contact with people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses and do not receive vaccines that contain live strains of a virus (e.g., live oral polio vaccine) during treatment with pentostatin. In addition, avoid contact with individuals who have recently been vaccinated with a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus can be passed on to you.

Nipent (pentostatin) side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
  • an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of your throat; difficulty breathing; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; or hives);

  • nervous system problems, such as a burning, pricking, or tingling feeling, or twitching;

  • severe skin rash;

  • confusion , dizziness, extreme sleepiness;

  • signs of infection such as fever; chills, or sore throat;

  • sudden shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or increased cough; or

  • unusual bleeding or bruising.

Other less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite;

  • mouth sores;

  • itching;

  • muscle or joint aches and pains; or

  • headache.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Nipent (pentostatin)?

Do not take pentostatin without first talking to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications:
  • fludarabine (Fludara);

  • carmustine(BiCNU, others);

  • etoposide(Etopophos, Toposar, Vepesid );

  • cyclophosphamide(Cytoxan, Neosar); or

  • vidarabine eye drops (Vira-A); or

  • any other cancer (chemotherapy) medications.

You may not be able to take pentostatin, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Do not receive "live" vaccines during treatment with pentostatin. Administration of a live vaccine may be dangerous during treatment with pentostatin.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with pentostatin. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about pentostatin written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Pentostatin is available with a prescription under the brand name Nipent. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • 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.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.03. Revision Date: 2/13/04 4:03:01 PM.

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