This page contains brief details about the drug , it's indication, dosage & administaration, mechanism of action, related brands with strength, warnings and common side effects.

Background and Date of Approval

Cladribine is an antineoplastic drug that belongs to the category of medicines known as Purine analogues. It was approved by the FDA in 1993 to treat hairy cell leukaemia.

Mechanism of Action of undefined

Cladribine is a purine analog drug that interferes with DNA synthesis and repairs cancer cells by binding itself into the DNA structure and disrupting its normal function. This disruption leads to the accumulation of damaged DNA, triggering cell death and ultimately helps to treat the cancer.

Uses of undefined

It is used to treat Hairy cell leukaemia (cancer of white blood cells). Also, this drug is used in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (is a type of autoimmune disorder that affects the nervous system).

undefined Drug administaration and Dosage available

It should only be administered by a trained doctor or nurse experienced in giving chemotherapy. This drug can be administered either as an intravenous (IV) infusion or as a subcutaneous injection. When given as an IV infusion, the drug is administered over a period of two hours. When given as a subcutaneous injection, the drug is administered under the skin using a small needle. Do not self-administer the injection. Your doctor will decide the dose and duration of the treatment based on your disease severity and other factors.

Warnings, Precautions and Side Effects of undefined


Cladribine is contraindicated in patients who have hypersensitivity reactions. This medicine may cause allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, and a rapid heartbeat. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. Also, this drug is contraindicated in patients with current malignancies, active chronic infections like tuberculosis or hepatitis. High doses of this drug have been associated with the irreversible neurologic toxicity (paraparesis/quadriparesis), acute nephrotoxicity, and severe bone marrow suppression resulting in neutropenia, anaemia and thrombocytopenia. Clinicians should also monitor patients frequently for signs and symptoms of neurological impairment, such as numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, weakness, or loss of bowel or bladder control. If these symptoms occur, urgent treatment is necessary to prevent further neurological damage. It is essential to inform your doctor if you have a history of any bleeding disorders, liver or kidney disease, or if you're taking any other medications, including over-the-counter drugs, supplements, or herbal remedies.


Consult your doctor before using this medication if you are pregnant or plan to have a baby. This medicine is not recommended for pregnant women as it may cause fetal harm. Your health care practitioner will conduct a pregnancy test before you start treatment with this drug. This medicine may cause birth defects if either partner uses it during conception or pregnancy. Male patients with female partners of reproductive potential should use effective birth control during the treatment and for 3 months after the last dose. Do not breastfeed during the treatment and for 10 days after the last dose. Avoid vaccination with live-attenuated or live vaccines during and after the treatment with this drug while the patient’s white blood cell counts are not within normal limits.

Side Effects

The common side effects that are likely to occur with this medicine are headache, dizziness, eye infection, cough, abnormal breath sounds, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhoea. Other serious side effects also include hypersensitivity reactions like itchy skin, rash, swelling of the face and lips, difficulty breathing and cold sweaty skin. Inform your healthcare provider if these side effects concern you or persist for longer than usual.

Word Of Advice

Avoid contact with people who have infections, especially during the time when you are taking the medication. Limit direct skin contact with the tablets, and wash exposed areas thoroughly. Your doctor will perform regular blood tests during treatment with this drug to monitor the blood cell counts and kidney function. Let your doctor know about any other medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, supplements, or herbal remedies.

Frequently Asked Question


  1. Merck See Ltd, Electronic medicines compendium (emc), [ Revised on Aug 2020],  [ Accessed on 15th  April 2023].
  2. Highlights of prescribing information ... - food and drug administration. Available at: [ Accessed on 15th  April 2023].
  3. Ema (2022) Mavenclad, European Medicines Agency. Available at: [ Accessed on 15th  April 2023].
  4. SAHPRA Medicines  Available at: [ Accessed on 15th  April 2023].
  5. Cladribine injection warnings - pfizer. Available at: [Accessed on 15th  April 2023].
  6. Goodman & Gilman’s, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, Cytotoxic agents, 12th edition, 2011, 1703-1704.


The drug information on this page is not a substitute for medical advice. It is meant for educational purposes only. For further details, consult your doctor about your medical condition to know if you can receive this treatment.