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High-Dose Cytarabine (“HiDAC”) and Daunorubicin

(sye-TARE-a-been and daw-noe-ROO-bi-sin)


Cytosar and Cerubidine

Additional Resources
  • Patient Info

  • Prescribing Info

High-Dose Cytarabine (“HiDAC”) and Daunorubicin is most commonly used to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML) but may be used for other treatments.

Our Medication Sheet

This sheet is available to download as an Adobe PDF.

Get High-Dose Cytarabine (“HiDAC”) and Daunorubicin Medication Sheet


INTRAVENOUS CANCER TREATMENT EDUCATION HIGH-DOSE CYTARABINE & DAUNORUBICIN Name of the regimen and cancer drugs Your care team may refer to your treatment as High Dose Cytarabine (“HiDAC”) / Daunorubicin. HiDAC/daunorubicin consists of 2 different anti-cancer therapies. • Cytarabine (sye TARE a been): Cytosar • Daunorubicin (daw noe ROO bi sin): Cerubidine Common uses Your treatment is most commonly used to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML) but may be used for other treatments. Treatment schedule Your treatment will be given into your vein through an intravenous (IV) line. This may be into a short, flexible temporary catheter in your arm, or through a central venous catheter. A central venous catheter, or central line is a long, flexible IV tube that empties into a very large vein next to the heart. Talk with your care team to see which will be best for you and your treatment. This treatment is known as induction and is planned for one cycle. o Cytarabine IV given on Days 1, 3, 5, and 7. o Daunorubicin IV given on Days 1-3. o This treatment regimen typically requires admission to the hospital. Drug DAY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Cytarabine X X X X Daunorubicin X X X HIGH-DOSE CYTARABINE & DAUNORUBICIN Page 2 INTRAVENOUS CANCER TREATMENT EDUCATION Other medications Other medications may be ordered for you to prevent or treat certain side effects. These include: Possible drug interactions o High-dose cytarabine and daunorubicin may interact with other drugs you are taking. Please inform your care providers of all prescription medicine, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal products that you take. o Talk with your care provider or pharmacist before taking new medications, supplements, or receiving any vaccines. Infection prevention There is a risk of serious infections during treatment. You may receive medications to prevent infection in the hospital, and may also get prescriptions for medications to take at home for infection prevention, as below: Instructions: Anti-nausea and other medications You will receive medications to prevent nausea and eye problems just before your cancer treatment. You may also get prescriptions for other medications to take at home, as below: HIGH-DOSE CYTARABINE & DAUNORUBICIN Page 3 INTRAVENOUS CANCER TREATMENT EDUCATION Common Side Effects Common side effects that have been known to happen in patients receiving high-dose cytarabine and daunorubicin are listed in the left side of this table. In some instances, the side effects may be reported less often but are still important to discuss. This table does not list all the known side effects for this therapy, only the ones that are experienced most often. Not every patient experiences every known side effect of a drug; even if you are taking the same drug as another patient, you may experience different side effects. Options to help manage any side effects that do occur are included on the right side of this table. These should be discussed with your care provider. If you experience any side effect you cannot manage or that is not listed here, contact your care provider. Possible Side Effect Management Decreased white blood cells (WBCs) and increased risk for infection Your WBCs should be monitored by a simple blood test. When your WBCs are low, you are at a greater risk of having an in-fection. Take the following precautions to protect yourself from infection. • Wash your hands often, especially before eating and after using the bathroom. • Avoid crowds and people with fevers, flu, or other infection. • Bathe often for good personal hygiene. Contact your care team if you experience any signs or symptoms of an infection such as: • Fever (temperature more than 100.4°F or 38°C) • Chills • Sore throat • Burning when peeing • Tiredness that is worse than normal • A sore that becomes red, is draining, or does not heal. Check with your care team before taking any medicine for a fever or chills. Continued on the next page HIGH-DOSE CYTARABINE & DAUNORUBICIN Page 4 INTRAVENOUS CANCER TREATMENT EDUCATION Possible Side Effect Management Decreased platelet count and increased risk of bleeding Your platelets should be monitored by a simple blood test. When they are low, you may bruise or bleed more easily than usual. • Use caution to avoid bruises, cuts, or burns. • Blow your nose gently and do not pick your nose • Brush your teeth gently with a soft toothbrush and maintain good oral hygiene • When shaving use an electric razor instead of razor blades • Use a nail file instead of nail clippers Call your care team if you have bleeding that won’t stop. Examples include: • A bloody nose that bleeds for more than 5 minutes despite pressure • A cut that continues to ooze despite pressure • Gums that bleed a lot when you floss or brush Seek medical help right away if you have any severe headaches, blood in your urine or stool, coughing up blood, or bleeding that you cannot stop or lasts a long time. You may need to take a break or “hold” your medication for medical or dental procedures. Talk to your care team or dentist before any scheduled procedures. Nausea or vomiting • Take all medications as prescribed to help prevent and lessen symptoms of nausea and vomiting • Eat and drink slowly • Drink 8-10 (8-ounce) glasses of water and/or fluid (soup or broth) each day unless your care team has instructed you to limit your fluid intake • Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day rather than a few large meals • Eat bland foods; avoid spicy, fried, and greasy foods • Avoid intense exercise immediately after eating • Don’t lay down right away after eating • Wear loose fitting clothing for comfort • Avoid strong odors. Consider getting fresh air and try deep breathing. Let your care team know if you have nausea or vomiting. Your care team may prescribe medication to help with the symptoms. HIGH-DOSE CYTARABINE & DAUNORUBICIN Page 5 INTRAVENOUS CANCER TREATMENT EDUCATION Rare but serious side effects o Daunorubicin is a vesicant. If it leaks outside of the IV, it can cause severe damage to your skin. Notify your nurse right away if you feel any pain, aching, burning, itching, swelling, or redness at the site of your IV. o High-dose cytarabine may cause serious neurologic side effects. Let your care team know right away if you have headaches, dizziness, seizures, confusion or changes in vision. Your care team should perform routine neurologic assessments prior to each dose to test for signs of early side effects. o High-dose cytarabine may result in serious and fatal lung toxicity. If you start to experience shortness of breath, fatigue, breathlessness, or discomfort/worsening of symptoms while lying on your back, please immediately let your care team know. o High-dose cytarabine may cause eye pain, blurred vision, tearing, and light sensitivity. You may receive eye treatments to prevent this side effect from occurring. o Daunorubicin and high-dose cytarabine can make your heart work harder to pump blood to the rest of your body. Notify your care team if you experience shortness of breath or chest pain. o This regimen may cause tumor lysis syndrome when starting treatment. Your care team may do blood tests to check for this side effect. o These medications may be harmful to your kidneys. Speak to your care team to know when you need to have laboratory tests done to monitor your kidneys. o These medications may be harmful to your liver. Speak to your care team to know when you need to have blood tests done to monitor your liver function. If you get this side effect, your doctor may change your dose or stop treatment for some time. o A secondary cancer can rarely occur months or years after treatment. Your care team will check your blood cell counts even after treatment is done to monitor for this side effect. o Severe allergic reactions are a rare but serious side effect of cytarabine. Right away seek medical attention if you notice difficulty breathing, swelling of the mouth or tongue, or a serious rash. If you experience ANY new, worsening, or uncontrolled side effects, call your care team immediately. (INSTITUTIONAL CONTACT INFO) HIGH-DOSE CYTARABINE & DAUNORUBICIN Page 6 INTRAVENOUS CANCER TREATMENT EDUCATION Handling body fluids and waste Some of the drugs you receive may be present in urine, stool, sweat, or vomit for many days after treatment. Many cancer drugs are toxic, your bodily waste may also be toxic and can be dangerous to come into contact with. Once you have started high-dose cytarabine and daunorubicin, follow the instructions below for at least two days after your treatment. This is to keep you, your loved ones, and the environment as safe as possible. o Pregnant women should avoid touching anything that may be soiled with body fluids from the patient. o Toilet and septic systems • You may use the same toilet, septic tank, and/or sewer that you usually use. If you have a low-flow toilet, close the lid and flush twice to ensure that all waste has been discarded. o If the toilet or toilet seat becomes soiled with urine, stool, or vomit, clean the surface after every use before other people use the toliet. o Wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet for at least 20 seconds. o If you need a bedpan, be sure your caregiver knows to wear gloves to assist with cleanup and to wash the bedpan with soap and water every day. o If you do not have good control of bladder or bowels, use a disposable pad with a plastic back, a diaper, or a sheet to absorb body waste. o Wash any skin that has been exposed to body waste with soap and water. o Linens or clothing that are soiled with body fluids or body waste should be washed separately from other linens and clothing. If you do not have a washer, place the soiled linens in a plastic bag until they can be washed. o Wash hands with soap and water after touching linens or clothing that may be soiled with body fluids. HIGH-DOSE CYTARABINE & DAUNORUBICIN Page 7 INTRAVENOUS CANCER TREATMENT EDUCATION Intimacy, sexual activity, contraception, and fertility This treatment may cause changes that can affect intimacy and sexuality, including desire and body image. Maintaining physical closeness and/or intimacy with loved ones can be continued during treatment. Holding hands, hugging, and kissing can be done safely. It is recommended that you talk to your care team about any restrictions or questions you may have. Some treatments can influence the ability to have children, also known as fertility. If you’re interested in preserving fertility, talk to your care team before treatment. Ask your healthcare provider to determine when it is safe to become pregnant after your treatment. Patients of reproductive ability should not become pregnant or get their partners pregnant while receiving highdose cytarabine and daunorubicin. Some of the drugs you receive may be present in semen and vaginal secretion for many days after treatment. You should use barrier devices, such as condoms, during sexual activity to limit exposure to body fluids. o Talk to your care team about birth control. Not all options may be right for your treatment or cancer. Effective contraception could include one or more of the following: barrier methods (e.g. condoms), hormone methods (e.g. birth control pills), or surgery. o Tell your care team if you become pregnant or plan to breastfeed

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