Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Anemia: Fludarabine may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired, or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells, including red blood cells, in your blood.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly as usual. Such sy
mptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won't stop bleeding. Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). Avoid contact with people who have contagious infections and tell your doctor if you begin to notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills.
Encephalopathy: Fludarabine has been reported to cause a condition of the brain called encephalopathy. Signs and symptoms of encephalopathy include unusual clumsiness; gradually worsening weakness; visual, speech, or personality changes; seizures; and possibly coma or death. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
Kidney function: If you have kidney problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Fludarabine may affect liver function. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Tumour lysis syndrome: Fludarabine, like many other cancer medications, causes many cancer cells to be suddenly killed when treatment is first started. This can overwhelm the body with waste products from the cells. As a result, the body may not be able to keep up with getting rid of all the waste. When this happens, you may experience nausea and shortness of breath, and notice cloudy urine or joint pain. This is called tumour lysis syndrome. Your doctor may prescribe some medications to help your body get rid of the waste products. Make sure you understand how to use these medications and report any of these signs or symptoms to your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defects if either partner is using fludarabine at the time of conception, or if it is taken during pregnancy. Effective birth control should be practiced while using fludarabine, and for 6 months after stopping the medication. This medication may harm the baby if used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if fludarabine passes into breast milk. Women should not breast-feed while using fludarabine due to the risk of harm to the child.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.