Specialty Drug


CLOFARABINE is a chemotherapy drug. It reduces the growth of cancer cells and can suppress the immune system. It is used for treating leukemia. Compare nucleoside metabolic inhibitors.

Clofarabine Side Effects

What should I watch for?

This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.

In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.

This drug can cause vomiting and diarrhea which may lead to dehydration. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting spells, or decreased urine output. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this drug.

This drug quickly kills leukemia cells which may result in a syndrome called 'tumor lysis syndrome'. If you experience symptoms such as fast breathing, fast heartbeat, dizziness, and difficulty breathing, call your doctor immediately.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.


Interactions with Medications

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Abdominal or stomach pain or tenderness

area rash

black, tarry stools

bleeding gums

blood in the urine or stools

bloody nose

blurred vision

burning or stinging of the skin

chest pain


clay-colored stools

cold or flu-like symptoms


cough or hoarseness

dark urine

decreased urine output


difficult or labored breathing

dilated neck veins


dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position

facial swelling


fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse

feeling of warmth


flushing, redness of the skin


irregular breathing


itching in the genital area

joint pain, stiffness, or swelling


loss of appetite

lower back or side pain




painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals

painful or difficult urination

pale skin

pinpoint red spots on the skin

pounding in the ears

rapid, shallow breathing

redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest

redness, swelling, or skin pain

scaling of the skin on the hands and feet

severe abdominal or stomach cramps with pain

skin rash

slow or fast heartbeat

small red or purple spots on the skin


sore throat

sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth


swelling of the ankles, feet, or lower legs

swelling or inflammation of the mouth

swollen glands


tightness in the chest

tingling of the hands and feet

troubled breathing with exertion

ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth

unpleasant breath odor

unusual bleeding or bruising

unusual tiredness or weakness

unusually warm skin


vomiting of blood

warmth on the skin

watery and severe diarrhea, which may also be bloody

weight gain

yellow eyes or skin

Less common



blue lips and fingernails

chest pain or discomfort

cloudy urine


coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum

darkened urine

decrease or increase in the amount of urine

decreased level of consciousness


difficult, fast, or noisy breathing, sometimes with wheezing

dry mouth

general feeling of discomfort or illness




increased sweating



muscle aches and pains

muscle twitching

pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones

pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back

rapid weight gain


seizures (convulsions)



stuffy or runny nose

swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, or hands

trouble sleeping

Incidence not known

Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin

red irritated eyes

red skin lesions, often with a purple center

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Back pain

bone pain

bruises on the skin

cracked lips

difficulty with moving

difficulty with swallowing


dry skin


feeling sad or empty

feeling unusually cold

injection site pain

itching, pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, or warmth on the skin at the injection site

lack or loss of strength

loss of interest or pleasure

muscle pain or stiffness

pain in the limbs

pain in the rectum

right upper stomach pain and fullness

skin discoloration

sore mouth or tongue

swollen joints


trouble concentrating

unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness

unusually warm skin

weight loss

white patches with diaper rash

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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