Low-dose drug therapy for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)
If you’re not well enough for intensive chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant, you may be offered a low dose of a drug called azacitidine. This is given by injection under the skin for several days, and the treatment is repeated once a month for at least six months.
Another option is a low dose of a chemotherapy drug called cytarabine, also given by injection under the skin. This is given in combination with chemotherapy tablets and may need to continue for up to two years.
What are the side effects?
Side effects include nausea, constipation and diarrhoea for azacitidine, and flu-like symptoms and skin rash for cytarabine. These effects can be controlled with medicines.
Dr Anoop Enjeti, Senior Staff Specialist Haematologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, The University of Newcastle; Ray Araullo, Deputy Head, Social Work Department, Royal North Shore Hospital; Shehaan Fernando, Consumer; Narelle Greentree, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Hunter Haematology Unit, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Karen Maddock, Haematology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Westmead Hospital; Melanie Sexton, Consumer; Dr Jonathan Sillar, Haematology Registrar, Calvary Mater Newcastle, and Conjoint Fellow, The University of Newcastle.
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