Specialty Drug

Generic Dacogen

DECITABINE is a chemotherapy drug. This medicine reduces the growth of cancer cells. It is used to treat adults with myelodysplastic syndromes. Compare nucleoside metabolic inhibitors.

Decitabine Side Effects

What should I watch for?

Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. 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.

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.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine or for at least 1 month after stopping it. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. Men should not father a child while taking this medicine and for at least 2 months after stopping it. 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

Black, tarry stools

bladder pain

bleeding after defecation

bleeding gums

blood in urine or stools

bloody or cloudy urine

blue lips and fingernails

blurred vision

body aches or pain

chest pain






coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum

decreased urination

difficult, burning, or painful urination

difficult, fast, noisy breathing, sometimes with wheezing

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


dry mouth

dryness of throat

facial swelling


fast or irregular heartbeat

feeling unusually cold


flushed, dry skin

frequent urge to urinate

fruit-like breath odor


hives or welts


increased hunger

increased sweating

increased thirst

increased urination

itching, pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, or warmth on skin


loss of appetite

lower back or side pain

mood or mental changes

muscle pain or cramps

muscle spasms or twitching

nausea or vomiting


numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or lips

pale skin

pinpoint red spots on skin

redness or pain at the catheter site

runny nose



shortness of breath

skin rash

small clicking, bubbling, or rattling sounds in the lung when listening with a stethoscope

small red or purple spots on skin, lips or in mouth


sore mouth or tongue

sore throat

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

stomach pain and bloating

sunken eyes

swelling of face, hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs

swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in neck, armpit, or groin

tightness in chest


trouble in swallowing

troubled breathing with exertion

uncomfortable swelling around anus

unexplained weight loss

unusual bleeding or bruising

unusual tiredness or weakness

voice changes

weakness or heaviness of legs


white patches in mouth and/or on tongue

wrinkled skin

yellow eyes or skin

Less common

Collection of blood under skin

deep, dark purple bruise


pain or tenderness around eyes and cheekbones

pain, warmth, or burning in fingers, toes, and legs

problems with vision or hearing

skin scrape or burn

stuffy nose

swelling at injection site

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

Acid or sour stomach


back pain


bumps on skin

burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings

chest discomfort


difficulty swallowing


hair loss, thinning of hair



loose stools

muscle stiffness

pain in arms or legs

pain in joints


stomach discomfort or upset

swelling or inflammation of the mouth

trouble sleeping

unable to sleep

unusual drowsiness, dullness, or feeling of sluggishness

Less common

Difficulty in moving

general feeling of discomfort or illness

muscle aching

pain in the tongue

postnasal drip

pressure in the stomach

swollen joints

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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