Asparaginase Erwinia Chrysanthemi

Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi is an antineoplastic agent used in combination with other cancer medications to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of cancer of the white blood cells.

Overview

Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi belongs to the category of medications known as antineoplastic agents. It works by interfering with the natural substances that are necessary for the growth of cancer cells. Since this medicine may also affect the growth of normal body cells, the patient will also experience some other effects. Some of those effects could be serious and should be immediately reported to the doctor.

Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi is prescribed together with other cancer medicines to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). It is usually used in patients who have experienced an allergic reaction to E. coli-derived asparaginase. Before beginning treatment with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi, you and your doctor should have a discussion about the benefits, as well as the risks, of using the medication. This medication should only be given by, or under the supervision of, your doctor.

Conditions treated:

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia

Type of medicine:

  • Antineoplastic agent

Side effects

Apart from its desired effects, a medicine may also bring about certain unwanted effects. Not all of these effects are likely to occur, but if they do occur, get medical attention as soon as possible.

More common:

  • Dizziness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Itching
  • Hives or welts
  • Rash
  • Irritation
  • Troubled breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Stiffness, pain, or swelling of joints
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Swollen face, lips, hands, or feet
  • Swelling/puffiness of eyelids or area around the eyes
  • Swelling/puffiness of lips, face, or tongue
  • Skin redness

Less common:

  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Fruit-like breath odor
  • Dark urine
  • Blurred vision
  • Chills
  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Constipation
  • Flushed, dry skin
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Chest, groin, or leg pain, especially calves of the legs
  • Pain in the abdomen, stomach, or side, possibly spreading to the back
  • Sudden onset of severe headaches
  • Sudden loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech (sudden onset)
  • Sudden changes in vision
  • Sweating
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Seizures
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Rare:
  • Confusion
  • Bruising
  • Bloody urine or stools
  • Headache
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Red streaks on skin
  • Pain, tenderness or swelling at site of injection
  • Numbness/tingling in the face, arms, legs
  • Continual bleeding from puncture sites, nose or mouth
  • Difficulties with speech, walking, or thinking

Some side effects that may be considered mild will usually not require any medical attention. These side effects will fade away with time as your body gets used to the new medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice about these side effects. However, if any of these side effects persist or start to bother you, or if you need additional information about them, make sure you consult your doctor:

Less common:

  • Diarrhea

You might also experience other side effects not listed above. Be sure to check with your nurse or physician as soon as you can if you experience any other side effects.

Dosage

You will be given this medicine by a doctor or another trained healthcare professional in a hospital or in a cancer treatment facility. This medicine is administered as a shot into a vein or a muscle, usually three times a week.

Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi is sometimes prescribed together with other medications. If you will be receiving a combination of medications, it is vital that you receive each one at the appropriate time.

Missed dose:

This medication should be administered on a fixed schedule. If you happen to miss a dose, contact your health caregiver, treatment clinic or doctor for instructions.

Overdose:

An overdose is unlikely, as this medicine is administered by a doctor or another trained healthcare professional in a medical setting.

Drug Interactions

Although some medications should not be prescribed together, physicians may sometimes have to prescribe them together, even if an interaction is likely to happen. Drug interactions could affect the efficacy of your medicine, or heighten the risk of severe side effects. Please note that this medication guide does not cover all possible drug interactions.

It is not recommended to use Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi with any of the following medications or drugs, except under special circumstances as determined by your doctor. In some instances, your doctor may decide not to prescribe this drug, or they may change the dosing for the other drugs you are taking:

  • Prednisone
  • Prednisolone
  • Vincristine
  • Methotrexate
  • Vincristine Sulfate Liposome

Be sure to maintain a list of all the products you’re using, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, supplements, and herbal products. Share this list with your doctor or pharmacist at every appointment.

Interactions with food/alcohol/tobacco

Taking certain medications around the times you eat, or when you are eating certain foods, is not advisable because interactions may occur. In addition, using tobacco products or alcohol with certain medications may also cause interactions. Have a discussion with your doctor about using this medicine with alcohol, tobacco, or certain foods.

Medical problems:

Other medical conditions you may have could affect the use of this medicine. Be sure to inform your doctor if you are suffering from, or have a history of any other medical conditions, and in particular:

  • Diabetes
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or blood clotting problems
  • Bleeding problems

A history of bleeding problems resulting from L-asparaginase treatment, or a history of

  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)—medication must be used with caution as it may aggravate these conditions.
  • Pancreatitis resulting from L-asparaginase treatment, or a history of—medication should not be given to people with these conditions.

Warnings

Before using any medication, it’s important that you weigh the potential risks of using it against the benefits it can offer. Your doctor should help you with making this decision. Below are some of the top factors to consider:

Allergies

Let your doctor know if you have had any odd or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. In addition, inform your health care professional if you have some other type of allergy, such as to animals, dyes, foods, preservatives. When buying non-prescription products, make sure you read the package or label ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

No appropriate studies done to date have shown pediatric-specific issues that would limit the usefulness of Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi in children.

Older adults

To date, no appropriate studies have been performed among the elderly on the relationship between age and the effects of Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi in the geriatric population. The efficacy and safety of this medication have not been established.

Pregnancy

It is not yet known whether taking this medication will cause harm to the unborn baby. Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant while taking this medicine.

Breastfeeding

Studies in breastfeeding women have shown harmful effects on the infant. The doctor should prescribe an alternative to this medication, or you may have to stop breastfeeding while using Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.

It is very important to have your health caregiver keep track of your progress on a regular basis, so they can check for any problems that this medication may cause. Your health caregiver may order blood tests to check for any unwanted effects. Be sure to honor all your appointments with your doctor and the lab.

This medication could cause a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which will require emergency medical attention as it could be life-threatening. Quickly alert your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms: chest pain, itching, rash, hives, dizziness or lightheadedness, difficulty with swallowing, difficulty with breathing, swollen face, mouth or hands after receiving the medication.

While using this medication, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) may occur. Inform your health care professional immediately if you have sudden, serious abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, constipation or lightheadedness.

Immediately notify your doctor if you start experiencing increased hunger or thirst, increased urination, nausea, faintness, pale skin, or sweating. These are the possible signs of problems with blood sugar levels in your body.

Tell your doctor right away if you notice the following symptoms: headache, confusion, nausea, vomiting, numbness or tingling in your arms and legs, or pain in the chest after you receive this medication. These are the possible signs of a serious bleeding problem or a blood clotting problem.

This medication may pass into body fluids (vomit, feces, urine). Do not allow your hands or other body surfaces to come into contact with any of these body fluids for at least 48 hours after receiving your dose. When cleaning up their patient’s body fluids, changing diapers or handling contaminated clothing, caregivers must wear rubber gloves. They should wash their hands before and after removing the gloves. Soiled clothing should be washed separately from the rest of the laundry.

Summary

Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi is used in combination with other cancer medicines for treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which is a type of cancer of the white blood cells. This medication is to be used in patients who have had an allergic reaction to E. coli-derived asparaginase.

You should know that using Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi comes with a number of risks, such as pancreatitis, blood clotting problems, changes in blood sugar levels, and anaphylaxis, which is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. Additionally, studies in breastfeeding women have shown harmful effects on the infant.

Before beginning treatment with this medication, therefore, have a discussion with your doctor about the benefits as well as the risks of using it. Watch out for the symptoms associated with each of these conditions and contact your doctor right away if you notice any of those symptoms.

Lastly, keep all your appointments with your doctor and the lab test, so your doctor can monitor your progress while checking for any unwanted effects. It is also important to let your doctor know what prescription and nonprescription drugs, nutritional supplements or herbal products you use or plan to start using. Put them down in a list that you can present to your health caregiver at every visit.

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Last Reviewed:
December 22, 2017
Last Updated:
December 22, 2017
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