Nelarabine Injection


Nelarabine injection is used to treat certain types of leukemia (cancer that begins in the white blood cells) and lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system) that have not improved or that have come back after treatment with other medications. Nelarabine is in a class of medications called antimetabolites. It works by killing cancer cells.

Side Effects Of Nelarabine Injection

Nelarabine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • stomach pain or swelling
  • sores on the mouth or tongue
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • depression
  • pain in your arms, legs, back, or muscles
  • swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • blurred vision

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

Nelarabine injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before using nelarabine injection:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to nelarabine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in nelarabine injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention adenosine deaminase inhibitors such as pentostatin (Nipent). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease.
  • tell your doctor if you or your partner are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you are female, you will need to take a pregnancy test before you begin receiving nelarabine injection and should not become pregnant while you are using nelarabine. If you are male, you and your female partner should use birth control during your treatment and for 3 months after your final dose. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that you can use during your treatment. If you or your partner become pregnant while using nelarabine injection, call your doctor immediately. Nelarabine may harm the fetus.
  • tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed while you are using nelarabine injection.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are receiving nelarabine.
  • you should know that nelarabine may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
  • do not have any vaccinations during your treatment with nelarabine injection without talking with your doctor.

Dosage Of Nelarabine Injection

Nelarabine injection comes as a liquid to be given intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a hospital or clinic. It is usually given to adults once a day on the first, third, and fifth days of the dosing cycle. It is usually given to children once a day for 5 days. This treatment is usually repeated every 21 days. Your doctor may delay your treatment if you experience certain side effects.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.


Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to nelarabine injection.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.