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What Is Fludarabine Used For?

How Does This Medicine Work?

Fludarabine works by blocking the action of certain naturally occurring enzymes that are necessary for DNA to make a copy of itself (known as DNA replication). Because DNA replication is necessary for cells to divide, fludarabine can slow down the growth of cancer cells and cause them to die.
 
Fludarabine is not itself active against cancer cells. Instead, the body rapidly converts the drug into an active form within minutes after each dose is given.
 

Can Children Use It?

Fludarabine is not approved for use in children. In clinical studies, the drug was not shown to be effective against childhood cancers, including acute leukemia. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using fludarabine in children.
 

Is It Safe for Older Adults to Use Fludarabine?

Older adults can use fludarabine. However, people with kidney disease are usually given lower fludarabine doses. Because kidney function tends to decline with age, older adults may have decreased kidney function and, therefore, may need to be treated with lower doses of fludarabine. Older adults should receive blood tests to evaluate their kidney function before starting fludarabine treatment.
 

What About Off-Label Uses?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this medication for treating something other than hairy cell leukemia. This is called an "off-label" use. Fludarabine may sometimes be prescribed off-label for the following uses:
 
  • Treatment of acute myeloid leukemia
  • Treatment of non-Hodgkin 's lymphoma
  • To prepare the body for a bone marrow transplant. 
 
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Fludarabine Phosphate Medication Information

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