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Pentostatin (Injection)

Pentostatin (pen-toe-STAT-in)

Treats cancer, including hairy cell leukemia.

Brand Name(s):

Nipent, Novaplus Nipent

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. You should not receive it if you had an allergic reaction to pentostatin or if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
  • Missed dose: This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use fludarabine while you are using this medicine.
  • Some medicines can affect how pentostatin works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Allopurinol
    • Carmustine
    • Cyclophosphamide
    • Etoposide
    • Vidarabine
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, low blood pressure, or any type of infection.
  • Do not breastfeed while you are being given this medicine.
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Wash your hands often.
  • Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Confusion, extreme tiredness, fainting, or drowsiness
  • Dark urine or pale stools, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Decrease in how much or how often you urinate
  • Fever, chills, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, or body aches
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, feet, or face
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas, stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Mild skin rash or itching
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Nervousness, depression, trouble sleeping
  • Pain, redness, or swelling where the needle is placed
  • Tooth pain, swelling in your gums, mouth sores

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 11/4/2014
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