Azacitidine review

Azacitidine is a drug used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), as type of bone marrow disease that often precedes leukemia. This disease is manifested by improper functioning of the bone marrow. Bone marrow cells are deformed, leading to a decrease in blood production.

Azacitidine acts by improving the bone marrow function by binding to the DNA and RNA, and improving blood production by killing off abnormal cells. In a test done on azacitidine use, patients who previously needed blood transfusions for MDS no longer needed it after taking azacitidine, and 16% reported full return of bone marrow structure and blood cell count.

Azacitidine is used to treat MDS and its subtypes such as various refractory anemia including those with ringed sideroblasts, excess blasts, and excess blasts in transformation. It is even used in the treatment of some leukemia such as chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, refractory acute lymphocytic leukemia and refractory acute myelogenous leukemia.

Azacitidine is available as a powder that is readily soluble in water and can be administered subcutaneously or intravenously by a doctor or nurse. Treatment consists of a once-a-day injection for seven days, and may be repeated after 4 weeks. Doctors usually prescribe 4 treatments at a time. However, doses may be increased after two cycles if significant improvement is not experienced and no adverse side effects are seen. Conversely, subsequent treatments may be delayed or doses be reduce if adverse side effects are experienced. It is important to communicate with your doctor regarding any effects felt while undergoing treatment. The amount per dose is dependent on your weight and possibly previous treatment history and other assessments by your doctor. The doctor may also use azacitidine in other related conditions if it is found to work effective on you.

Side effects of azacitidine treatment may include nausea, diarrhea or constipation, mouth sores, tiredness, cramps, back and joint pain, sweating, swelling of ankles, hands and feet, rashes and reddening of skin while on treatment and weakness. A low white blood count may be experienced in between sessions and during this period you may be susceptible to infections. This low point however is temporary, lasting for 10-17 days and possibly taking 28-31 days to recover.

Other side effects are serious, and need immediate medical attention. These may include pale skin, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, bruising or bleeding, nosebleed, signs of infection such as a fever and sore throat, and red or purple dots on the skin. Consult with your doctor immediately once these side effects occur.

Inform you doctor of any medication you are currently taking as well as any present medication allergies you have. Also, avoid taking aspirin while on the treatment unless your doctor specifically allows this.

Do not receive any form of immunization such as vaccines while on azacitidine. The lowered white blood cell count may leave you in danger.

Azacitidine may be harmful to a developing fetus and may also affect fertility if you are planning to get pregnant. Contraceptives may also interact with the drug and barrier methods such as condoms are preferred. Avoid breast feeding during this period as well.

Azacitidine has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of azacitidine

• Molecular formula of azacitidine is C8H12N4O5
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 4-amino-1-[3,4-dihydroxy-5-(hydroxymethyl)oxolan-2-yl]-1,3,5-triazin-2-one
• Molecular weight is 244.205 g/mol
Azacitidine available : 100mg tablets

Brand name(s): Azacitidina, Azacitidinum, Azacytidine, Ladakamycin, Mylosar, Vidaza

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