Fludarabine phosphate is used to treat forms of leukemia that do not respond to other therapies or that have deteriorated during other treatments.


What is Fludarabine Phosphate?

Fludarabine phosphate is an antimetabolite. It works by preventing cancer cells from reproducing, thus inducing their death.


How should Fludarabine Phosphate be taken?

Fludarabine phosphate can be administered intravenously via injection or orally in the form of tablets.


Side effects associated with Fludarabine Phosphate

Fludarabine may reduce the number of platelets and the ability to fight infections. It is also associated with the appearance of skin cancers (or worsening of skin tumors that are already present), severe bone marrow problems, acute myeloid leukemia and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Fludarabine phosphate may also cause permanent infertility in men. 


Among the other possible side effects of Fludarabine phosphate include the following:


  • Diarrhea
  • General malaise
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness


It is important to contact a doctor immediately if you experience: 


  • Rash
  • Urticaria
  • Itch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue
  • Strange thoughts
  • Dark or bloody stools
  • Dark or bloody urine
  • Trouble walking
  • Chest pains
  • Confusion
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Urination problems
  • Swoon
  • Hearing loss
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain in the back or hips
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Weakness or muscle cramps
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet
  • Peeling, blistering, redness or swelling of the skin 
  • Convulsions
  • Severe or persistent tiredness or weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever, chills, cough or sore throat
  • Swelling of fingers, hands or feet
  • Sores in the mouth, lips or tongue
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Vision problems or blindness
  • Vomiting that looks like coffee
  • Jaundice


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Fludarabine Phosphate

Fludarabine phosphate can compromise the ability to drive or operate hazardous machinery, especially when taken together with alcohol or other drugs. It must not be taken together with pentostatin or in case of severe renal failure.


Before starting treatment with Fludarabine phosphate, it is also important to tell your doctor if:


  • You have any allergies to the active substance, its excipients, or any other drugs or food
  • You are taking any other medications, herbal remedies or supplements. Mentioning in particular: pentostatin and digoxin
  • You are suffering (or have suffered) from bone marrow or blood problems, bleeding disorders, kidney disease, immune system disorders, nervous system problems, infections, skin cancer or autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • You have tested positive in the Coombs test
  • You are undergoing (or have undergone) chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • You are experiencing autoimmune reactions to the administration of Fludarabine phosphate
  • You have recently undergone a blood transfusion
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding


During treatment with Fludarabine phosphate, it is important not to receive live vaccines. In case of symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, it is vital to stay hydrated.


Lastly, it is necessary to use contraceptive methods for up to 6 months after having stopped treatment with Fludarabine phosphate.