Pegaspargase - Injection

Pronunciation: peg-ASP-are-gace

Common Brand Name(s): Oncaspar

Important: How To Use This Information

This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

Uses

This medication is usually used to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), especially in patients who are allergic to L-asparaginase. It works by starving tumor cells of a certain amino acid (asparagine), causing the tumor cells to die.

How To Use

This medication is given by injection into a vein or a muscle by a health care professional. Dosage is based on your body size and response to treatment.

Side Effects

Nausea, vomiting, weakness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or pain/swelling/redness at injection site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • severe stomach/abdominal pain
  • signs of an infection (e.g., fever)
  • increased thirst/urination
  • easy bruising/bleeding
  • dark urine
  • yellowing eyes/skin
  • pain/redness/swelling/numbness/tingling of the arms or legs

Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur:

  • sudden shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • severe headache
  • seizures
  • slurred speech
  • confusion
  • vision changes
  • weakness on one side of the body

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug can occur. Get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:

  • rash
  • itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
  • severe dizziness
  • trouble breathing

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before using pegaspargase, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to L-asparaginase; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:

  • history of a serious reaction to L-asparaginase (e.g., bleeding, blood clots, pancreatitis)
  • diabetes
  • clotting/bleeding disorders
  • liver disease
  • pancreatitis

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.

Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.

To lower your risk of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

This drug may rarely make your blood sugar rise, which can cause or worsen diabetes. If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst/urination. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using pegaspargase. Pegaspargase may harm a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. Ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication and for at least 3 months after stopping treatment. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug and for at least 3 months after stopping treatment. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include:

  • other drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (for example, "blood thinners" such as warfarin/heparin, anti-platelet drugs including NSAIDs such as ibuprofen)

Overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Notes

Lab and/or medical tests (such as prothrombin time, complete blood counts, liver function tests, amylase levels, blood sugar) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.

Missed Dose

For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule.

Storage

Not applicable. This medication is given in a clinic and will not be stored at home.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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