Approved to treat hairy cell leukemia, cladribine (Leustatin®) is prescribed to help slow down the progression of this form of cancer. Cladribine is approved for use when the condition is active, which means a person is experiencing symptoms or has significantly low blood cell counts. This prescription chemotherapy drug is approved for use in adults only.
Cladribine is a type of purine analog and works by preventing DNA from replicating, which is necessary for cancer cells to divide. It also interferes with the ability of DNA to repair itself when it is damaged. These actions can slow down the growth of cancer cells, or even cause the cancer cells to die.
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