Asparaginase is used in the treatment of acute lymphocytic leukemia.

What is Asparaginase?

Asparaginase is an enzyme. It works by decreasing the synthesis of Asparagine acid, which leads to extinction of the tumor cells.

How should Asparaginase be taken?

Asparaginase is administered by intramuscular injection or directly into a vein.

Side effects associated with Asparaginase

Among the possible adverse effects are included:

  • Fever, chills, flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Allergic reactions
  • Appetite decrease
  • Stomach cramps
  • Excessive sleepiness, depression, hallucinations, agitation, disorientation or convulsions and more rarely numbness, confusion or coma
  • Sore throat
  • Pancreatitis
  • Blood tests abnormalities
  • Liver enzymes increase
  • Clotting problems, increased risk of blood clots or bleeding

You should immediately contact a doctor if taking Asparaginase triggers any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever over 38°C
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Persistent abdominal pain that may worsen while eating
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Swelling, redness or pain in an arm or a leg
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Jaundice
  • Unusual thirst and often need to urinate
  • Confusion, excessive sleepiness, hallucinations, agitation, or disorientation

Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Asparaginase

Asparaginase is contraindicated in cases of pancreatitis.


Moreover, before starting the treatment it is important to tell your doctor if:

  • You have any allergies to the active substance, its ingredients, other medicines or any food
  • You are taking other medications, herbal remedies and supplements
  • You suffer (or have suffered) from any disease or health conditions
  • You are planning any vaccinations or immunizations
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding

Lastly, during this treatment it is important to use barrier contraception (both in the case of men and women).