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People who have a type of cancer called B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia may benefit from fludarabine. This chemotherapy drug comes as an injection that is given 5 times over 5 days, every 28 days. Most people who receive this medicine will develop some type of side effect, such as fatigue, fever, or infections.

What Is Fludarabine?

Fludarabine phosphate (Fludara®) is a prescription medication approved to treat B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It is used when the cancer has not adequately responded to or has become worse after treatment with certain other chemotherapy medicines. Fludarabine belongs to a group of medicines known as purine analogs.
 
The active ingredient in fludarabine, fludarabine phosphate, used to be available in the form of a tablet. This medicine was called Oforta™. Oforta was made by sanofi-aventis. The manufacturer stopped making Oforta due to a lack of demand for the medication, and it is no longer available.
 
(Click What Is Fludarabine Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any chemotherapy medicine, fludarabine can cause side effects, some of which can be significant and potentially serious. In fact, many people will experience some type of side effect during treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to prevent or lessen reactions to this drug.
 
Common side effects of fludarabine include but are not limited to:
 
  • Decrease in blood cell counts
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Infections
  • Cough.
 
(Click Fludarabine Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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