Pronunciation: erwin-E-a as-PAR-a-jin-ase
Common Brand Name(s): Erwinase
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.
Erwinia asparaginase is used to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). It works by starving tumor cells of needed nutrients and slowing tumor cell growth.
How To Use
This medication may be given by injection into a muscle by a health care professional. Some brands may also be given by injection under the skin or into a vein by a health care professional, usually in a hospital setting. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Your doctor will give you pre-medication to help prevent allergic reactions.
Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, drink plenty of fluids while using this medication.
Pain or swelling at the injection site, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, headache, lack of energy, or drowsiness may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe, and in some cases you may need anti-nausea drugs. Not eating before your treatment may help relieve nausea and vomiting. Changes in diet, such as eating several small meals, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If 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 any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur:
- severe stomach pain with nausea/vomiting
- mental/mood changes
- muscle stiffness
- joint pain
- swelling of hands/feet/lower legs
- yellowing of the eyes/skin
- unusual bleeding/bruising (such as nose bleeds, black or bloody stools)
- signs of high blood sugar (such as unusual thirst, frequent urination)
Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur:
- abnormally high fever
- vision changes
- severe headache
- severe dizziness
- chest pain
This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection. Tell your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills, sores in mouth or on lips, or persistent sore throat.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- 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.
Before receiving erwinia asparaginase, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it 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:
- liver disease
This drug may make you drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine for flu vaccine inhaled through the nose. Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
Use caution with sharp objects like razors or nail cutters and avoid activities such as contact sports to lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Your doctor may order a pregnancy test before starting this medication. You should not become pregnant while using erwinia asparaginase. Erwinia asparaginase 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 the last dose. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug and for at least 3 months after the last dose is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
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.
This product can affect the results of certain lab tests. Make sure laboratory personnel and your doctors know you use this drug.
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.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as complete blood counts, liver function tests, amylase levels, blood sugar) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is important that you receive asparaginase as scheduled by your doctor. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor right away to obtain a new dosing schedule.
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).
Information last revised February 2020.
Copyright(c) 2020 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.