Cytarabine (Ara C.cytosine arabinoside)

Cytarabine (Ara C.cytosine arabinoside)

This patient-friendly article is about chemotherapy drug, Cytarabine (Ara C.cytosine arabinoside) which is mostly used for the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and some head and neck cancers.

Cytarabine was approved by the FDA in 1969 and is classified as antimetabolites in the category of chemotherapy. This means that it inhibits the dividing of cells.

The dosage for meningeal leukaemia can be in the range of 5 mg/m2 to 75 mg/m2 intrathecally (injection into the spinal canal or space under the membrane of the brain).

Approved by

the Medical Board. 

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In 2017, the FDA approves that use of VYXEOS (daunorubicin and cytarabine) liposome for the treatment of newly diagnosed therapy-related acute myeloid leukaemia. VYXEOS contains 44 mg/m2 of daunorubicin and 100 mg/m2 IV for 90 minutes on day 1,3 and 5 and on days 1 and 3 for subsequent cycles. 

Side effects can include: fatigue, lowered resistance to infection, bruising or bleeding, anaemia, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, conjunctivitis, raised levels of uric acid in the blood (can be alleviated with another drug), mouth ulcers. Less common are hair loss, liver changes and taste changes, and soreness in the palms and soles of feet - but all are temporary.

The medication can result in adverse reactions including leukopenia, thrombocytopenia and anaemia.

Go to: 10 ways to improve your chemotherapy success and reduce side-effects

Other articles that you may find interesting are:

  1. A diet for Chemotherapy
  2. Immunotherapy overview
  3. A to Z Guide to Complementary Therapies

Go to: Return to the CANCERactive drug list


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