Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

US Brand Name

  1. Clolar


Clofarabine injection is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the white blood cells, in patients who have already used at least 2 other cancer medicines.

Clofarabine is an antineoplastic (cancer) medicine. It interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed by the body. Since the growth of normal cells may also be affected by clofarabine, other unwanted effects can occur. Before you begin treatment, talk to your doctor about the benefits of this medicine as well as the possible risks of using it.

This medicine is to be given only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Solution

Before Using

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of clofarabine injection in children 1 year of age and older.


Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of clofarabine injection have not been performed in the geriatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established in elderly patients 65 years of age.


Information about this clofarabine-intravenous-route
Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters D Studies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.


There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
  • Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Varicella Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Zoster Vaccine, Live

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Adenovirus Vaccine
  • Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
  • Cholera Vaccine, Live
  • Dengue Tetravalent Vaccine, Live
  • Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
  • Smallpox Vaccine
  • Typhoid Vaccine
  • Yellow Fever Vaccine

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Anemia (low red blood cells) or
  • Bleeding problems (eg, hemorrhage) or
  • Infection (eg, bacteria, fungus, virus) or
  • Liver disease or
  • Neutropenia (low white blood cells) or
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelets in the blood)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Kidney disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Proper Use

You will receive this medicine while you or your child are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A doctor or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.

While you are receiving clofarabine, it is important that you drink extra fluids so you will pass more urine. This will help prevent unwanted effects on the kidney.


It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Clofarabine can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

  • If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you have fever or chills, a cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
  • Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
  • Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail and toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.

This medicine may cause a serious type of reaction called the tumor lysis syndrome. This syndrome may cause you to have high amounts of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). Your doctor may give you a medicine to help prevent this. Call your doctor right away if you have a decrease or change in urine amount, joint pain, stiffness, or swelling, lower back, side, or stomach pain, rapid weight gain, swelling of the feet or lower legs, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Call your doctor right away if you have dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position, a fast or irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, or swelling of the hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs. These may be symptoms of rare but serious conditions called capillary leak syndrome or systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).

Check with your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, pale stools, or dark urine, a loss of appetite, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

This medicine may cause acute kidney failure. Tell your doctor right away if you have decrease in how much or how often you urinate, confusion, dizziness, headache, rapid weight gain, seizures, or swelling of your hands, ankles, or feet after receiving this medicine.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  1. Abdominal or stomach pain or tenderness
  2. area rash
  3. black, tarry stools
  4. bleeding gums
  5. blood in the urine or stools
  6. bloody nose
  7. blurred vision
  8. burning or stinging of the skin
  9. chest pain
  10. chills
  11. clay-colored stools
  12. cold or flu-like symptoms
  13. confusion
  14. cough or hoarseness
  15. dark urine
  16. decreased urine output
  17. diarrhea
  18. difficult or labored breathing
  19. dilated neck veins
  20. dizziness
  21. dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  22. facial swelling
  23. fainting
  24. fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  25. feeling of warmth
  26. fever
  27. flushing, redness of the skin
  28. headache
  29. irregular breathing
  30. itching in the genital area
  31. itching or skin rash
  32. joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  33. lightheadedness
  34. loss of appetite
  35. lower back or side pain
  36. nausea
  37. nervousness
  38. pain
  39. painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals
  40. painful or difficult urination
  41. pale skin
  42. pinpoint red spots on the skin
  43. pounding in the ears
  44. rapid, shallow breathing
  45. redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  46. redness, swelling, or skin pain
  47. scaling of the skin on the hands and feet
  48. severe abdominal or stomach cramps with pain
  49. slow or fast heartbeat
  50. small red or purple spots on the skin
  51. sneezing
  52. sore throat
  53. sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  54. sweating
  55. swelling of the ankles, feet, or lower legs
  56. swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  57. swollen glands
  58. tenderness
  59. tightness in the chest
  60. tingling of the hands and feet
  61. troubled breathing with exertion
  62. ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  63. unpleasant breath odor
  64. unusual bleeding or bruising
  65. unusual tiredness or weakness
  66. unusually warm skin
  67. vomiting
  68. vomiting of blood
  69. warmth on the skin
  70. watery and severe diarrhea, which may also be bloody
  71. weight gain
  72. yellow eyes or skin

Less common

  1. Agitation
  2. bloating
  3. blue lips and fingernails
  4. chest pain or discomfort
  5. cloudy urine
  6. constipation
  7. coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum
  8. darkened urine
  9. decrease or increase in the amount of urine
  10. decreased level of consciousness
  11. depression
  12. difficult, fast, or noisy breathing, sometimes with wheezing
  13. dry mouth
  14. general feeling of discomfort or illness
  15. hives
  16. hostility
  17. hyperventilation
  18. increased sweating
  19. indigestion
  20. irritability
  21. muscle aches and pains
  22. muscle twitching
  23. pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  24. pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  25. rapid weight gain
  26. restlessness
  27. seizures (convulsions)
  28. shaking
  29. shivering
  30. stuffy or runny nose
  31. swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, or hands
  32. trouble sleeping

Incidence not known

  1. Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  2. red irritated eyes
  3. red skin lesions, often with a purple center

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  1. Back pain
  2. bone pain
  3. bruises on the skin
  4. cracked lips
  5. difficulty with moving
  6. difficulty with swallowing
  7. discouragement
  8. dry skin
  9. fear
  10. feeling sad or empty
  11. feeling unusually cold
  12. injection site pain
  13. itching, pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, or warmth on the skin at the injection site
  14. lack or loss of strength
  15. loss of interest or pleasure
  16. muscle pain or stiffness
  17. pain in the limbs
  18. pain in the rectum
  19. right upper stomach pain and fullness
  20. skin discoloration
  21. sore mouth or tongue
  22. swollen joints
  23. tiredness
  24. trouble concentrating
  25. unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
  26. unusually warm skin
  27. weight loss
  28. white patches with diaper rash

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.