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Precautions and Warnings With Rasburicase

Even though rasburicase can be an effective medicine, it may increase the risk for certain blood problems, allergic reactions, or other potentially serious complications. This medicine may not be safe for people who have a history of certain blood conditions or those who are of African or Mediterranean descent. Precautions and warnings for rasburicase also apply to women who are pregnant or nursing.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to receiving rasburicase (Elitek®) if you have:
  • A medical condition known as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency
  • Developed a reaction to rasburicase treatment in the past
  • Been told you have cytochrome b5 reductase (also known as methemoglobin reductase) deficiency
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Of African or Mediterranean descent
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Rasburicase Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to receiving this medication include the following:
  • Some people may develop a severe allergic reaction to rasburicase. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • Wheezing
    • Tightness or pain in the chest
    • Shortness of breath
    • Skin that looks bluish or grey
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Cold and clammy skin
    • Hives.
  • Rasburicase may cause serious blood problems, especially in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Your healthcare provider will test you for G6PD deficiency prior to starting rasburicase if you are of African or Mediterranean descent, as these people have a higher risk for developing this condition.
  • There are special handling procedures that healthcare providers will need to follow when testing blood uric acid levels in people receiving rasburicase. For example, the blood will need to be collected in pre-chilled tubes and immediately immersed in ice water.  
  • Rasburicase is a pregnancy Category C medication, which means it may not be safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication during pregnancy (see Elitek and Pregnancy).
  • It is unknown if rasburicase passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to using this drug (see Elitek and Breastfeeding).
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