Ara-C ( Cytarabine, Cytosar-U)

Warning: Ara-C should only be used under the direct supervision of a medical professional. There are several contraindications and side effects that may come up when using this medication, so it’s important to stay in contact with your doctor throughout your treatment process. This drug may affect fertility and may cause birth defects, so if you are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant or fathering a child, speak to your doctor. Make sure that your doctor always has an updated list of medications you are taking, and do not add or stop taking any medication without first consulting with your doctor.

Indications: Ara-C is used to treat a variety of types of leukemia as part of a chemotherapy treatment. It is considered to be an effective anti-tumor medication, but it may be more effective for some patients than others which your doctor can help figure out as part of your diagnosis. This medication is often combined with other cancer-specific drugs to help make it more effective.

When you take this medication, it helps kill cancer cells by interrupting the way in which they multiply and grow. For this reason, this drug can help slow down or even stop the spread and growth of cancerous cells in your body.

Dosage: As of now, Ara-C is used only in an injection form and no oral pill is available. Depending on your specific situation, this medication may be injected intravenously in a slow and steady manner using controlled dosages, or it may be injected between the skin and muscle for slow absorption into the body. The dosage you are given depends greatly on your health, previous cancer treatments, age, weight, other conditions you are treating, and the type of cancer you have. Most patients will have a unique treatment plan and should follow the advice of their doctor along the way.

Interactions: There are many drugs that this medication can interact with including both prescription and over the counter drugs. Your doctor and pharmacist will help monitor any interaction dangers, so make sure they are aware of all medications, supplements, and drugs you are taking. Your doctor will be able to help you find ways to benefit from this medication while still treating other conditions you may have or taking other medications you need to keep taking.

Contraindications: There are several contraindications for taking Ara-C, so make sure that your doctor is given a full history of your health plus updated information about any medications you are taking. You should talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or if you intent to become pregnant or father a child. This medication may interfere with fertility or cause birth defects.

Side effects:  Ara-C attacks both cancer cells and some normal cells that multiply quickly, which can lead to the development of the following side effects:

joint pain

hair loss 



weight loss 

nausea and vomiting

decreased appetite

Cramp or tingling in the hands or feet

Ara-C can cause serious side effects which require medical attention; contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • painful urination
  • bloody urine
  • muscle weakness
  • persistent cough and sore throat
  • abdominal pain
  • blurred vision
  • black, tarry stools
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • swelling and pain at the injection site
  • Fever, which can be a sign of infection.

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