Fludarabine (Fludara)

Fludarabine injection must be given under the supervision of a doctor who is experienced in giving chemotherapy medications for cancer.


Fludarabine injection can cause a decrease in the number of blood cells made by your bone marrow. This decrease may cause you to develop dangerous symptoms and may increase your risk of having a serious or life-threatening infection. Your doctor may prescribe other medications to decrease the risk that you will develop a severe infection during your treatment. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a low number of any type of blood cells in your blood or any condition that affects your immune system and if you have ever developed an infection because your blood cell levels were too low.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: shortness of breath; fast heartbeat; headache; dizziness; pale skin; extreme tiredness; unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry, or bloody stool; vomit that is bloody or that looks like coffee grounds; and fever, chills, cough, sore throat, difficult, painful, or frequent urination, or other signs of infection.

Fludarabine injection can also cause damage to the nervous system . If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: seizures, agitation, confusion, and coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time).

Other serious facts

Fludarabine injection may cause serious or life-threatening conditions in which the body attacks and destroys its own blood cells. Tell your doctor if you have ever developed this type of condition after receiving fludarabine in the past. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: dark urine, yellow skin, tiny red or purple dots on the skin, nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding, blood in the urine, coughing up blood, or difficulty breathing due to bleeding in the throat.

In a clinical study, people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who used fludarabine injection along with pentostatin (Nipent) were at high risk of developing serious lung damage. In some cases, this lung damage caused death. Therefore, your doctor will not prescribe fludarabine injection to be given along with pentostatin (Nipent).

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body’s response to fludarabine injection.

Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving fludarabine injection.

The basics

Fludarabine (brand name- Fludara) is an FDA-approved treatment useful for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL; a type of cancer of the white blood cells) in adults who have already been treated with at least one other medication and have not gotten better.

Fludarabine injection falls in a class of purine analogs medications. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.

Let us walk you through the key things you need to know about fludarabine.

How should I take fludarabine (Fludara)?

Patient getting IV chemotherapy

Fludarabine injection comes as a powder to be added to fluid and injected over 30 minutes intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility. The dosage is once a day for 5 days in a row. This treatment period is called a cycle, which may be repeated every 28 days for several cycles.

You should know that you may develop a serious or life-threatening reaction if you need to receive a blood transfusion during your treatment with fludarabine injection or at any time after your treatment. Be sure to tell your doctor that you are receiving or have received fludarabine injection before you receive a blood transfusion.

Do not stop taking treatment without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.

What are the side effects of fludarabine?

Common side effects

Serious side effects

  • chest Pain or discomfort
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • hearing loss
  • pain along the side of the body
  • swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • peeling or blistering skin

Fludarabine injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Use the free Ankr platform or Ankr app to track your symptoms.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving fludarabine (Fludara)

  • tell your doctor about your allergies
  • tell your doctor about other intakes
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any disease, symptom, or treatment
  • you should not plan to have children while receiving fludarabine injections or for at least 6 months after treatments. Use a reliable method of birth control to prevent pregnancy during this time.

while you are on fludarabine (Fludara)

  • if you or your partner become pregnant while taking fludarabine, call your doctor. Fludarabine injection may harm the fetus.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are receiving fludarabine injection.
  • do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
  • talk to your doctor before you receive any vaccinations during your treatment with fludarabine injection.

In case of an emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • fever, chills, cough, sore throat, or other signs of infection
  • delayed blindness
  • coma

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

Brand names

  • Fludara®

Other names

  • 2-Fluoro-ara-A Monophosphate, 2-Fluoro-ara AMP, FAMP

Last Revised -06/14/2023, FDA updated- 07/19/2022, SG

Get 24×7 support for fludarabine (Fludara)

Don’t go through your cancer journey alone. Use Ankr to:
(1) find the best treatment for your cancer, and
(2) get advanced warning to cut side effects by upto 52%

Sign up for a free 30-day trial now

Did you like this content?

Tell us how we can improve this post?

DISCLAIMER: No part of this content constitutes medical advice, opinion, or should be used for medical decision making without consultation with a licenced medical practitioner and under a patient-provider relationship. All information on the website is provided without any claims of accuracy. For full terms and conditions, visit this link. Content curated by the Ankr team.

↑ Back to top