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Decitabine (Injection)

Decitabine (dee-SYE-ta-been)

Treats myelodysplastic syndrome (a bone marrow disease) and certain types of anemia.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to decitabine, or if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • 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.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein.

If a dose is missed:

  • 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.

  • Tell your doctor if you have ever been treated with cancer medicines in the past.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • This medicine may cause birth defects if either partner is using it during conception or pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you or your partner becomes pregnant. Men should not father a child while receiving this medicine, and for 2 months after the treatment.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease or liver disease.
  • 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.
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Avoid people who are ill, and wash your hands often. Brush and floss your teeth gently, do not play rough sports, and be careful with sharp objects.
  • 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
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, cold sweat, or bluish-colored skin.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst or hunger, or muscle cramps or twitching.
  • Enlarged abdomen.
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Headache, confusion, or numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, or fainting.
  • Painful urination, red or dark brown urine, or change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Red or black stools, or pain during bowel movement.
  • Swelling in your face, hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Trouble swallowing, or burning feeling on the chest, throat, mouth, tongue, or gums.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Vaginal pain, itching, or discharge.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

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

  • Anxiety, depression, or trouble sleeping.
  • Back pain, joint pain, or muscle pain.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach, or stomach pain.
  • Hair loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Redness, pain, swelling, itching, blistering, or rash where the shot was given.
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Tiredness.
  • Warmth, redness, swelling, numbness, or pain in your skin, or skin rash or itching.

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: 4/4/2014

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