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All about: decitabine injection

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Generic Name: decitabine (injection) (de SIT a been)
Brand Names: Dacogen

What is decitabine?

Decitabine is a cancer medicine. It helps prevent cancer cells from spreading in the body.

Decitabine is used to treat myelodysplastic syndromes (certain types of blood or bone marrow cancer).

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

What is the most important information I should know about decitabine?

Before receiving this medication, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease.

Do not receive this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Decitabine could cause harm to the unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. If a man fathers a child while using this medication, the baby may have birth defects. Use a condom to prevent pregnancy during your treatment. Continue using condoms for at least 2 months after you stop receiving decitabine.

Decitabine is given as an injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and can take up to 3 hours to complete.

Decitabine is usually given every 8 hours for 3 days, repeated every 6 weeks for at least 4 treatments.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition and is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before receiving decitabine?

Before receiving decitabine, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease;

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to receive decitabine, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not receive decitabine without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. If a man fathers a child while using this medication, the baby may have birth defects. Use a condom to prevent pregnancy during your treatment. Continue using condoms for at least 2 months after you stop receiving decitabine. It is not known whether decitabine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not receive this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is decitabine given?

Decitabine is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion, and can take up to 3 hours to complete.

In most cases, a decitabine injection is given every 8 hours for 3 days. This 3-day treatment is usually repeated every 6 weeks. You will most likely receive at least 4 of these treatments.

You may be given other medications to help prevent nausea and vomiting while you are being treated with decitabine.

Decitabine can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have received too much of this medicine. Symptoms of a decitabine overdose may include fever and chills or other flu symptoms, unusual bleeding or bruising, and any other signs of infection.

What should I avoid while receiving decitabine?

Avoid contact with people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop signs of infection.

Decitabine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;

  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips; or

  • swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.

Other less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • tired feeling;

  • blurred vision;

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;

  • diarrhea, constipation;

  • cough, sore throat;

  • increased thirst or urination;

  • joint pain;

  • headache;

  • sleep problems (insomnia); or

  • mild skin rash or redness.

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 decitabine?

There may be other drugs that can affect decitabine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has more information about decitabine written for health professionals that you may read.

  • 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: 1.01. Revision Date: 6/27/06 9:39:59 AM.

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