If you have chronic lymphocytic leukemia that has not responded adequately to other chemotherapy treatment, your healthcare provider may prescribe Fludara. This medication is given as an injection into a vein (intravenously, or by IV) daily for 5 days in a row, every 28 days. Side effects are common and include fever, infections, and weakness.
What Is Fludara?
Fludara® (fludarabine phosphate) 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. Fludara belongs to a group of medicines known as purine analogs.
The active ingredient in Fludara, 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.
Fludara is made by Ben Venue Laboratories for Genzyme Corporation.
How Does Fludara Work?
Fludara works by blocking the action of certain naturally occurring enzymes that are necessary for DNA to make a copy of itself (known as DNA replication). Because DNA replication is necessary for cells to divide, Fludara slows down the growth of cancer cells and causes the cancer cells to die.
Fludara is not itself active against cancer cells. Instead, the body rapidly converts the medication into an active form within minutes after each dose is given.
Fludarabine. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Drug Facts and Comparisons 4.0 [online]. 2012. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed October 20, 2012.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 20, 2012.
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