Brand name: Cytosar-U®
Other names: Arabinosylcytosine
Ara-C is available by prescription only
Ara-C in used alone or in combination with other chemotherapy agents in the treatment of:
- Certain types of
sometimes used to treat other medical conditions not mentioned in this article; talk to your doctor or
pharmacist for more information.
Ara-C is given by
injection into a vein (intravenous), injection into the muscle (intramuscular injection) or injection into the
spinal cord (intrathecal infusion)
o recommend an effective dose of Ara-C, your doctor will base on your health in general, other drugs you are
taking, type of cancer you have, and your body mass area (BSA). The reactions of
your body to the drug can determine if the treatment needs to be adjusted or stopped. Usually, Ara-C are
administered daily over a period of time, which will be determined by your oncologist according to condition and
your body's reaction to the medication. In general, each treatment cycle is followed by a pause.
comes in a solution form to be taken by intravenous, intramuscular or intrathecal infusion. The drug is
administered in a hospital or a medical center having sterilization equipment available for its preparation.
Either in hospital or a health center, Ara-C must be prepared and administered by medical specialists who have
experience in chemotherapy drugs. Ara-C can seriously decrease the number of blood cells in your bone marrow; a
special monitoring during the treatment is necessary.
Ara-C is administered in hospital by professionals; the risk of overdose is virtually nonexistent. In case that
accidental overdose happens, immediate medical attention is required. Ara-C overdose may cause severe and even
fatal health problems. There is no unique treatment for Ara-C overdose; treatment is symptomatic and close
the fact that Ara-C is
administered in hospital, it is basically difficult for you to miss a dose if you respect your doctor
appointment. If for some reasons you cannot be present at the hospital for the therapy, contact your
oncologist before the date scheduled for the treatment. Do not discontinue the therapy because you experience
side effects; side effects do not mean the drug does not work you. In fact, most patients being treated with
Ara-C develop adverse effects.
Mechanism of action (MOA):
Ara-C works by selectively inhibiting DNA synthesis. Once their DNAs are damaged, cancer cells (also healthy
normal) which require DNA to reproduce become unable to multiply. Unfortunately some rapidly dividing healthy cells
are damaged by Ara-C.
Ara-C is contraindicated, or should be used with precaution in these conditions:
to Ara-C or any of its components
who are breast-feeding.
can affect the liver and/or kidney functions. A strict hematologic, hepatic (liver), renal (kidney) monitoring
is necessary during the therapy,
particularly during the induction phase. It is also important that your doctor regularly do tests to check your
bone marrow status.
Interactions: talk you to your doctor before
vitamins, nutritional supplements, or St. John wort.
Some drugs can alter the effects of Ara-C and increased risk of developing side effects. Consult your doctor before
taking the following medicines:
an antiviral drug
a polyene antifungal
immune system inhibitor
- Digoxin, a medication used in the treatment of several
chemotherapy used to stop the
growth of cancer cells
a medication used to treat
irregular heart beat
- Barbiturates, depressant drug that causes relaxation and
, a drug
used to inhibit the production of
acid in the stomach
medication used to treat pain
associated with gouty arthritis
(Cytoxan), a medication of the
alkylating agent family used to treat a variety of cancers
(Cytoxan, Cytoxan, Neosar, Procytox,
Revimmune), a drug used to treat several types of cancers.
Side effects: b
y attacking the cancer cells, Ara-C also attack some normal cells that multiply quickly, which can cause various
adverse effects. Most common Ara-C side effects include:
Ara-C can cause
serious side effects which require medical attention; contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of
and sore throat
black, tarry stools
unusual bruising or bleeding
of the skin or eyes
and pain at the injection site
Fever, which can be a sign of