Generic name: decitabine
Brand name: Dacogen
Dosage form: intravenous powder for injection (50 mg)
Drug class: Antimetabolites
Medically reviewed by A Ras MD.
What is decitabine?
Decitabine is used to treat a health problem called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Decitabine may be given to you for other reasons.
Decitabine is a nucleoside metabolic inhibitor. Decitabine for Injection contains decitabine (5-aza-2′-deoxycitidine), an analogue of the natural nucleoside 2′-deoxycytidine. Decitabine is a fine, white to almost white powder with the molecular formula of C8H12N4O4 and a molecular weight of 228.21 gm/mol. Its chemical name is 4-amino-1-(2-deoxy-β-D-erythro-pentofuranosyl)-1,3,5-triazin-2(1H)-one and it has the following structural formula:
Decitabine is slightly soluble in ethanol/water (50/50), methanol/water (50/50) and methanol; sparingly soluble in water and soluble in dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO).
Decitabine for Injection, for intravenous use is a sterile, white to almost white lyophilized powder supplied in a clear colorless glass single-dose vial. Each 20 mL, vial contains 50 mg decitabine, 68 mg monobasic potassium phosphate (potassium dihydrogen phosphate) and 11.6 mg sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide and/or hydrochloric acid are used for pH adjustment.
Mechanism of Action
Decitabine is believed to exert its antineoplastic effects after phosphorylation and direct incorporation into DNA and inhibition of DNA methyltransferase, causing hypomethylation of DNA and cellular differentiation or apoptosis. Decitabine inhibits DNA methylation in vitro, which is achieved at concentrations that do not cause major suppression of DNA synthesis. Decitabine-induced hypomethylation in neoplastic cells may restore normal function to genes that are critical for the control of cellular differentiation and proliferation. In rapidly dividing cells, the cytotoxicity of decitabine may also be attributed to the formation of covalent adducts between DNA methyltransferase and decitabine incorporated into DNA. Non-proliferating cells are relatively insensitive to decitabine.
Before taking decitabine, tell your doctor:
- If you are allergic to decitabine; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take decitabine with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take decitabine?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take decitabine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- This medicine may lower the ability of your bone marrow to make blood cells that your body needs. This can lead to needing a blood transfusion and very bad and sometimes deadly bleeding problems or infections. Tell your doctor right away if you have signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat; any bruising or bleeding; or if you feel very tired or weak.
- If you have upset stomach, throwing up, diarrhea, or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with your doctor. This medicine may raise blood sugar.
- Check your blood sugar as you have been told by your doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you have signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- If you are a man and have sex with a female who could get pregnant, protect her from pregnancy during treatment and for 2 months after your last dose.
- If you are a man and your sex partner gets pregnant while you take decitabine or within 2 months after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking decitabine and for 1 month after stopping decitabine.
- If you get pregnant while taking decitabine or within 1 month after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
How is decitabine best taken?
Use decitabine as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.
- Other drugs may be given before decitabine to help avoid side effects.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
What are the side effects of decitabine that I need to call my doctor about immediately?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up or coughing up blood; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; abnormal vaginal bleeding; bruises without a cause or that get bigger; or bleeding you cannot stop.
- Signs of fluid and electrolyte problems like mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, very bad dizziness or passing out, fast heartbeat, more thirst, seizures, feeling very tired or weak, not hungry, unable to pass urine or change in the amount of urine produced, dry mouth, dry eyes, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Pale skin.
- Pinpoint red spots on the skin.
- Yellow skin or eyes.
- Swollen gland.
- Shortness of breath.
- Blurred eyesight.
- Trouble swallowing.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- A fast heartbeat.
- Numbness and tingling.
- Low mood (depression).
What are some other side effects of decitabine?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Hair loss.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Stomach pain or heartburn.
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
- Not hungry.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Back pain.
- Bone, joint, or muscle pain.
- Pain in arms or legs.
- Muscle spasm.
- Irritation where decitabine is given.
- Weight loss.
- Night sweats.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If overdose is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out decitabine?
- If you need to store decitabine at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
PACKAGE LABEL.PRINCIPAL DISPLAY PANEL
- NDC 69097-905-67 Rx Only
- for Injection
- 50 mg per vial
- FOR INTRAVENOUS INFUSION ONLY.
SRC: NLM .