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Quick guide to 2-CdA

Brand Name(s): 2-CdA, 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine, Leustatin

Generic Name Cladrabine

What is cladribine injection?

CLADRIBINE (Leustatin®) is a type of chemotherapy for treating cancer. An enzyme in cells acts on cladribine to produce a substance that interferes with cell growth. White blood cells called lymphocytes contain a lot of this enzyme and are very sensitive to cladribine. This makes cladribine useful in treating cancers of the blood, in particular hairy cell leukemia. Generic cladribine injections are not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive cladribine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • bleeding problems
  • blood disorders
  • dental disease
  • gout
  • having intramuscular injections
  • infection (especially virus infection such as chickenpox or herpes)
  • kidney stones
  • recent radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to cladribine, other chemotherapy, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Cladribine is for infusion into a vein. It is usually administered in a hospital or clinic setting by a health care professional.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss a dose. Notify your prescriber or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What drug(s) may interact with cladribine?

  • allopurinol
  • colchicine
  • live virus vaccines
  • probenecid
  • sulfinpyrazone

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including nonprescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from receiving cladribine?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • black, tarry stools
  • blood in the urine
  • difficulty breathing
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever or chills, cough or sore throat
  • joint or muscle pain or weakness
  • lower back pain
  • pain or difficulty passing urine
  • pain, swelling, redness, or irritation at the injection site
  • reduced amount of urine passed
  • skin rash, itching
  • stomach pain
  • sweating
  • unusual bleeding or bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • constipation or diarrhea
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea

What should I watch for while taking cladribine?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks. The side effects of cladribine can continue after you finish your treatment; report side effects promptly.

Cladribine may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon because cladribine affects good cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects as above, but continue your course of medicine even though you feel ill, unless your prescriber or health care professional tells you to stop.

While you are taking cladribine you will be more susceptible to infection. Try to avoid people with colds, flu, and bronchitis. Do not have any vaccinations without your prescriber's approval and avoid anyone who has recently had oral polio vaccine.

Call your prescriber or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat. Do not treat yourself.

Cladribine can cause blood problems. This can mean slow healing and a risk of infection. Try to avoid cutting or injuring yourself. Problems can arise if you need dental work, and in the day to day care of your teeth. Try to avoid damage to your teeth and gums when you brush or floss your teeth.

Drink several glasses of water a day. This will help to reduce possible kidney and bladder problems.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are using cladribine.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

After mixing the injection solution use at once, or store in a refrigerator and use within 8 hours unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer. Throw away any unused injection solution.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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