Asparaginase (Injection)


Asparaginase (as-PAR-a-jin-ase)

Treats certain kinds of leukemia and other cancers.

Brand Name(s)


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or had an allergic reaction to asparaginase.

How to Use This Medicine


  • This medicine, like all medicines used to treat cancer, is very strong. Make sure you understand why you are getting it and what the risks and benefits of treatment are. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it will be given.
  • You may get your medicine through a tube that is put in your vein, usually in your arm, wrist, or hand and sometimes in your chest. This is called intravenous (in-tra-VEEN-us), or IV.
  • Or you may get the medicine in a shot given in a muscle, usually in your buttock, upper arm, or thigh. This is called intramuscular (in-tra-MUSS-cue-lar), or IM.
  • A nurse or other caregiver trained to give cancer drugs will give your treatment.
  • You probably will get your medicine at a hospital or clinic so the results of your treatment can be watched closely.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a regular schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or the clinic where you get your treatments for instructions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you have your treatments at home, you may need to store the medicine. Keep the medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.
  • If you get your treatments at home, you should be given a special container for the used needles, medicine bag or bottles, and tubes. Keep it where children or pets cannot reach it.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • You should not use aspirin or any product that has aspirin in it (such as some cold medicines) unless you have talked to your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccines (such as flu shots).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
  • Asparaginase can increase the level of sugar in your blood. Make sure your doctor knows if you have diabetes or high blood sugar.
  • You may have a test before you start your treatments to see if you are allergic to the medicine.
  • Do not get pregnant while you or your sexual partner are receiving asparaginase. Use an effective form of birth control while you are getting this medicine.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before you start your treatments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Trouble breathing, rash or hives
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, or tongue
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Fever, chills, or sore throat
  • Unusual bleeding and bruising
  • Having to go to the bathroom (urinate) often
  • Swollen feet and ankles

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Weakness, tired feeling
  • Loss of appetite, mild upset stomach or vomiting

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

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

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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