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Made from a genetically altered strain of yeast, Elitek is used to help control uric acid levels in people with leukemia, lymphoma, or cancerous solid tumors. Managing uric acid levels can help prevent dangerous problems like kidney failure, seizures, and even death. This medication is approved for use in both adults and children.

What Is Elitek Used For?

Elitek® (rasburicase) is a prescription medication approved to manage uric acid levels in people at risk for tumor lysis syndrome and high uric acid levels due to certain cancer treatments. It is given as a slow injection into a vein (an intravenous, or IV, infusion).
Some cancer treatment can cause a condition known as tumor lysis syndrome. This condition occurs when cancer cells are rapidly destroyed and release their contents into the body. This can cause a variety of metabolic and electrolyte problems, including high levels of potassium, phosphate, and uric acid. These problems can, in turn, cause serious complications, such as kidney failure, seizures, and death. 
Certain things may increase the risk for tumor lysis syndrome. For example, people who have certain types of lymphoma, leukemia, or cancer that affects the bone marrow or kidneys may be more likely to develop tumor lysis syndrome. An increase in white blood cells, high uric acid levels, and kidney disease may also increase the risk.
In addition, certain types of chemotherapy used to treat lymphoma and leukemia have been associated with the development of tumor lysis syndrome and high uric acid levels.
If people are at risk for tumor lysis syndrome, a healthcare provider may choose to start certain treatments before chemotherapy to help prevent tumor lysis syndrome from occurring. Such preventive treatments may include:
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids to ensure a person remains adequately hydrated
  • Treatments to reduce uric acid, especially if uric acid levels are high
  • Frequent monitoring of electrolytes, such as phosphate, calcium, and potassium.
Elitek is approved for the initial management of uric acid levels in people receiving cancer treatment that may cause tumor lysis syndrome and subsequent high uric acid levels. Specifically, Elitek is approved for people with leukemia, lymphoma, or cancerous solid tumors. It is only recommended as a single course of treatment, which may include up to five doses, given once a day over five days.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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