GM-CSF (Sargramostim)



Granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor, also called GM-CSF, Sargramostim, or Leukine®, is a man-made form of a natural human hormone. It is a colorless liquid that is either injected under the skin or given by vein. GM-CSF helps the body make infection-fighting white blood cells, called neutrophils. Some St. Jude patients need this medicine to help build up neutrophils that have been destroyed by chemotherapy.

How to give GM-CSF

Inject just below the skin

  • If your GM-CSF is injected under the skin (subcutaneous injection), a nurse will teach you how to give the injection (refer to “Do you know... How to give subcutaneous injections” or “Do you know... Subcutaneous tissue infusion set”).
  • Your subcutaneous injection dose is __________ micrograms.
  • For each dose, draw __________ cc into the syringe. Refer to “Do you know… Withdrawing medicine from a vial.”

By IV (into a vein)

If your GM-CSF is given into a vein, a nurse will give the GM-CSF dose.

Possible side effects

  • Mild bone pain
  • Pain/bruising at the injection site
  • Other less common side effects include:
    • Rash,
    • Headache,
    • Fatigue, and
    • Nausea or vomiting.

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 901-595-3300. 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

  • Check the expiration date on the vial or written on the prescription label. Do not use the GM-CSF past this date.
  • GM-CSF comes as a powder in a vial. Each vial contains 250 micrograms of GM-CSF. For injection, you must add bacteriostatic water to each vial of powder just before you withdraw a dose. Gently swirl to mix the powder with the water. Do not shake the mixture. You may withdraw more than one (1) dose of GM-CSF from each vial. You may continue to withdraw doses from a vial for 20 days after you mixed the vial or until the vial is empty (whichever comes first). For some protocol patients, the pharmacy will dispense the GM-CSF already mixed. Follow the instructions closely from your pharmacist and on the prescription label.
  • For newborns, GM-CSF comes as a powder. Each vial of GM-CSF powder contains 250 micrograms of GM-CSF. For injection, you must add water to each vial of powder just before you withdraw a dose. Gently swirl to mix the powder with the water. Do not shake the mixture. After you withdraw the GM-CSF dose, discard any remaining GM-CSF in the vial. Each vial provides only one (1) dose.
  • A nurse will complete teaching with you before GM-CSF is started. If any special mixing instructions are needed, it will be included in this teaching.
  • Keep GM-CSF vials in the refrigerator (GM-CSF may be kept at room temperature for up to 6 hours). Do not use GM-CSF if the vial is warm. Do not freeze GM-CSF.
  • Please store any unused or partial GM-CSF vials in the refrigerator.
  • Report fever or other signs of infection to your doctor. See “Do you know… The signs of infection” handout.


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).