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Azacitidine Injection

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome with Azacitidine (a group of conditions in which the bone marrow produces blood cells that are misshapen and does not produce enough healthy blood cells). Azacitidine belongs to the group of drugs known as demethylation agents. It functions by destroying abnormal bone marrow cells and assisting the bone marrow in producing healthy blood cells.

How should this medicine be used?

Azacitidine is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) or intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse at a clinic or hospital outpatient unit after being mixed with water. Typically, it takes seven days of daily injections. As long as your doctor advises, you can repeat this procedure every four weeks. Typically, treatment should last for at least four cycles.

After two cycles, if your condition has not improved and you have not experienced any severe adverse effects from the medicine, your doctor may increase your dose of azacitidine. If you suffer certain adverse effects, your doctor can also decide to postpone your treatment or lower your dose. Throughout your azacitadine therapy, be careful to let your doctor know how you are feeling.

Prior to each dose of azacitadine, your doctor will prescribe medication to stop nausea and vomiting.

Other uses for this medicine

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using azacitidine,

  • If you have an allergy to azacitidine, mannitol (Osmitrol, Resectisol), or any other medications, let your doctor and pharmacist know right away.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products that you are now taking or intend to use. Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your medications or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
  • If you suspect a liver tumor, let your doctor know. Your physician might advise against taking azacitidine.
  • If you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease, let your doctor know.
  • Inform your doctor if you intend to father a child, are pregnant, or think you could get pregnant. Pregnancy should not occur while you are using azacitidine, either for you or your partner. During your azacitidine therapy, you should take birth control to avoid pregnancy in either yourself or your partner. Discuss effective birth control options with your doctor. Call your doctor if you or your partner become pregnant while taking azacitidine. The foetus could suffer from azacitidine.
  • Avoid breastfeeding while taking azacitidine.
  • Inform the surgeon or dentist that you are using azacitidine if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you can’t make it to an appointment to get an azacitidine dose, call your doctor straight away.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Azacitidine might have negative effects. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bruises on the tongue or lips
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Stomach discomfort or agony
  • Heartburn
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Joint, muscular, or back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Sweating
  • Sweats at night
  • Having trouble or experiencing discomfort when urinating
  • Hands, foot, ankles, or lower legs swelling
  • Arid skin
  • Redness, pain, bruising, swelling, itching, lumps, or changes in the colour of the skin at the injection site are possible side effects.

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if any of these symptoms occur to you:

  • Light skin
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bluish gums
  • Skin with tiny red or purple spots
  • An infection-related sore throat, fever, chills, or other symptoms
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Breathing or swallowing challenges

Azacitidine could have other negative consequences. If you experience any strange issues while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

This drug will be housed in the medical office or hospital where you receive your treatment.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

Overdose symptoms could include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To monitor your body’s reaction to azacitidine, your doctor will request specific lab tests.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information on you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Vidaza®
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