pegaspargase

Pronunciation: peg ah SPAR jase

Brand: Oncaspar

What is the most important information I should know about pegaspargase?

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to pegaspargase or asparaginase, if you have ever received asparaginase and it caused pancreatitis, severe bleeding, or a blood clot.

What is pegaspargase?

Pegaspargase is used in combination with other medicines to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Pegaspargase is also used to treat allergic reactions to another cancer medicine called asparaginase.

Pegaspargase may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving pegaspargase?

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to pegaspargase or asparaginase, or if you have ever received asparaginase and it caused any of the following conditions:

  • a blood clot;
  • pancreatitis;
  • severe bleeding; or
  • a severe allergic reaction.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • a pancreas disorder;
  • liver disease;
  • diabetes;
  • bleeding problems;
  • any allergies; or
  • a stroke or blood clot.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

Pegaspargase may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 3 months after your last dose. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

Pegaspargase can make hormonal birth control less effective, including birth control pills, injections, implants, skin patches, and vaginal rings. To prevent pregnancy while using pegaspargase, use a barrier form of birth control: condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, or contraceptive sponge.

Do not breastfeed while using this medicine, and for at least 3 months after your last dose.

How is pegaspargase given?

Pegaspargase is injected into a muscle or given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

You will be watched closely for at least 1 hour to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction.

Pegaspargase can lower your blood cell counts. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results.

Your liver function may also need to be checked.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your pegaspargase injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medicine is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while receiving pegaspargase?

Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.

What are the possible side effects of pegaspargase?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding, purple or red spots under your skin;
  • low white blood cell counts --fever, mouth sores, skin sores, sore throat, cough, trouble breathing;
  • signs of liver or pancreas problems --loss of appetite, upper stomach pain (that may spread to your back), nausea or vomiting, fast heart rate, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • high blood sugar --increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor; or
  • signs of a blood clot --sudden numbness or weakness, problems with vision or speech, swelling or redness in an arm or leg.

Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.

Common side effects may include:

  • blood clot symptoms;
  • an allergic reaction;
  • pancreas or liver problems;
  • high blood sugar; or
  • low white blood cells.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect pegaspargase?

Other drugs may affect pegaspargase, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about pegaspargase.

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