Asparaginase is used with other chemotherapy drugs to treat a certain type of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL; a type of cancer of the white blood cells). Asparaginase is an enzyme that interferes with natural substances necessary for cancer cell growth. It works by killing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
Asparaginase is also sometimes used to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML; a type of cancer of the white blood cells) in children and to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL; a type of cancer that begins in a type of white blood cells that normally fights infection) in children and adults. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
Common side effects include:
Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
• loss of appetite
• weight loss
Some side effects can be serious.
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
• ongoing pain that begins in the stomach area, but may spread to the back
• hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
• swelling of the face, arms, or legs
• difficulty breathing
• chest pain
• yellowing of the skin or eyes
• pain in the upper right part of the stomach
• dark colored urine
• frequent urination
• increased thirst
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