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What is fludarabine?

Fludarabine (also called Fludara®) is an anticancer medicine. It is also used to help prepare patients before they receive an allogeneic stem cell transplant. Fludarabine is available as a clear liquid given by vein.

Fludarabine can pose a health hazard to caregivers. All caregivers should take safety precautions while giving this drug. For 48 hours after this drug is given, the patient’s body fluids can contain the drug. During that 48-hour period, caregivers should follow safety guidelines when handling the patient’s vomit, blood, urine, and bowel movements, including diapers. These guidelines include wearing gloves when cleaning up body fluids. For a complete list of safety precautions, see “Do you know… Protecting caregivers from drug hazards.”

Possible side effects of fludarabine


  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Later (usually more than a day after treatment starts)

  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Rash
  • Swelling in the feet or legs
  • Tingling in the arms, legs, feet, or hands
  • Low blood counts

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

  • Fever, chills, or sore throat
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Severe mouth sores
  • Trouble breathing, cough, or chest soreness
  • Blood in the urine or stool
  • Vision changes
  • Feeling confused
  • Feeling very tired or weak

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for fludarabine

  • Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of an infection, such as fever or chills. See “Do you know… The signs of infection” handout. Try to stay away from crowds and people with colds, flu, or other infections.
  • Your heart function may be monitored when you are given the fludarabine and for 4 hours afterward.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).