Asparginase: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects , Price, Composition, Precautions & More

What is Asparginase?

  • Asparginase is an anti-cancer drug used in combination with other approved chemotherapeutic drugs for treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
  • Asparginase is an enzyme derived from E. Coli bacteria and is available in vial form for Intravenous/ intramuscular injection.
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Uses of Asparginase:

  • Indicated for treatment of Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

How does Asparginase work?

  • Cancer cells especially in lymphoblastic leukaemia are dependent on exogenous source of Aspargine for survival. Asparginase deprives the malignant cells of aspargine thereby killing these cells and sparing the normal cells.

How to Take Asparginase?

  • Asparginase may have toxic properties and should be handled with care. It can be administered by either IV or IM route.

Common Dosage for Asparginase:

  • The recommended dose is 6000 International units/m2 IM/IV three times a week.
  • When administered IV, Asparginase should be given slowly over a period of not less than 30 minutes.
  • When administered IM, the volume at single injection site should not be more than 2 ml. In cases where more than 2ml has to be given, administer at two different sites.

When to avoid Asparginase and precautions to take?

Asparginase should not be used or should be used with caution when:

  • Allergic to any of its components
  • Patients with history of pancreatitis
  • Patients with pre-existing liver and kidney disease
  • Patients with immunosuppression
Read more: Decolgen Precaution | Famotin Precaution

Side effects of Asparginase?

  • Asparginase may produce multiple side effects, although they may not be common in all the patients. Commonly observed side effects include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Poor appetite
  • Pancreatitis
  • Increased blood glucose levels
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Immunosuppression and Increased chances of infection
Read more: Decolgen Side Effects | Fybogel Side Effects | Lopamide Side Effects

Effects on organs?

  • Asparginase can lead to immunosuppression and thus increased chances of infection. Continuous monitoring of blood cells should be done prior to and at intervals after treatment.

Reported Allergic Reactions?

  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
  • Allergy with Asparginase may exhibit following symptoms:
  • Rash
  • Chest tightness
  • Itching
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Drug Interactions to Be Careful About

  • Consult your doctor before administering any other drugs concomitantly with Asparginase. No drug interactions have been observed with Asparginase as such.

Shows Effects / Results In:

  • The time required by Asparginase to show its desired effect varies from person to person and depends on the clinical situation.

Storage of Asparginase

  • Storage at room temperature away from direct heat and light.
  • Keep medicines away from children and pets.

Pro Tips When Taking Asparginase:

  • Few patients might exert very severe allergic response to Asparginase. Thus it should always be administered in hospital settings for treatment of any severe side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Asparginase addictive?

  • No such tendency has been reported.

Can I have Asparginase with alcohol?

  • Interaction of Asparginase with alcohol is unknown.

Any particular food item to be avoided?

  • No such interaction with food products observed.

Can I have Asparginase when Pregnant?

  • Asparginase should be used in pregnant women only if the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

Can I have Asparginase when feeding a baby?

  • It is not known whether Asparginase is secreted in breast milk or not thus it should be administered with caution in lactating females.

Can I drive after taking Asparginase?

  • Asparginase does not usually affect your ability to drive.

What happens if I overdose on Asparginase?

  • It should not be administered in more than prescribed dose or frequency.
  • In cases of over dosage, observe the patient and supportive therapy is administered.

What happens if I administer expired Asparginase?

  • The medicine may not work as well as the potency of the medicines decreases and also it may lead to some adverse effects.

What happens if I miss a dose of Asparginase?

  • Always consume the missed dose as soon as you remember. But, if it is already time for the next dose – do not double the dose.

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