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Cytarabine is a medication which is used in treatment of certain types of cancer. It destroys the cancerous cells and prevents their further development. Cytarabine is given to the patients with brain cancer, spinal cord cancer, cancer of the lymphatic system and some types of blood cancer.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Cytarabine include weakness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. These side effects usually go away on their own after your body adjusts to Cytarabine. However, if any side effect turns out to be persistent and severe, you must see your doctor. Dangerous side effects include bloody urine, bloody or tarry stool, easy bruising, bleeding, and red pimples on the skin. You may also experience hair loss, but this side effect is not considered to be dangerous. Other side effects of Cytarabine may include mouth or lip sores, pain in the joints, pain in the neck, tingling sensation or even numbness of the fingers or toes, swelling of the feet or legs and fatigue. You may also develop vision or hearing problems.

Rare Side Effects

Some of the side effects of Cytarabine occur quite rare. Such side effects include pain in the bones and muscles, pain in the chest, swallowing difficulties, changes in urination and jaundice. You may also feel shortness of breath, heartburn, general weakness, extreme tiredness and faintness. Other rare side effects are redness of the eyes, rash or spots on the skin, headache, diarrhea, pain in the abdomen and irregular pulse. If you are allergic to Cytarabine you may have reactions such as breathing difficulties, tension in the chest, swelling of the lips, tongue or face and skin disorders, such as irritation, rash and itchiness.

Safety Measures

Cytarabine is usually not recommended for pregnant women because it may cause harm to the unborn baby. Women who are breastfeeding should discuss the benefits of Cytarabine with their doctor since this medication may affect the newborn baby. Your doctor must be informed about any other medications that you take and about any condition or disease that you suffer from. Make sure your doctor knows if you have any problems with liver or kidneys, herpes or gout. Since Cytarabine may weaken your immune system, you must protect yourself form infections. Symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, problems with urination and ache in the back, must be reported to your doctor as soon as possible because they are usually the sign of infection.

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