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

Cytarabine is an antineoplastic agent that belongs to the class antimetabolite. Initially, FDA approved it on January 01, 1999, for its medical use. 

Mechanism of Action of undefined

Cytarabine is a cytotoxic drug that acts by primarily killing cells undergoing DNA synthesis. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body. 

Uses of undefined

Cytarabine is a prescription drug and it is used alone or with other chemotherapy medications to treat certain types of leukemias (a type of blood cancer with too many white blood cells), including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). It is also indicated to use alone or with other chemotherapy drugs to treat and prevent meningeal leukemia (cancer in the membrane that covers and protects the spinal cord and brain).

undefined Drug administaration and Dosage available

A trained healthcare professional will give you Cytarabine in a hospital setting. It is available as an injection for solution. This medicine may be given by solution for injection/infusion (using a syringe) under the skin (subcutaneous) or into a vein (intravenously) or into a muscle (intramuscularly), or into the spine (intrathecal). Your doctor will decide the dose, route of administration, and duration of the treatment based on your disease condition, severity, and other factors. 

Warnings, Precautions and Side Effects of undefined


This medicine may cause neurotoxicity. Inform your physician if you have any symptoms of speech difficulties or body coordination problems. eye problems, numbness, or pain in the hands and feet. Cytarabine can cause embryo-fetal toxicity; notify your physician if you are pregnant, suspecting, or planning for pregnancy. If you have any problems with your liver. If your liver is not working well before treatment, cytarabine should be given only under strict medical supervision. 


Inform your physician if you have difficulties in body coordination, or taking any other anti-cancer medications, decreased bone marrow functioning, have liver problems, or have undergone dialysis immediately before or after treatment with this medicine. Use effective contraceptives during the treatment to prevent pregnancy. Female patients with reproductive potential should use effective contraception during the therapy and at least 6 months after completion. Your healthcare professional may advise you to take certain blood tests to monitor the effectiveness and side effects of the therapy. Inform your physician about all the medicines that you taking or have taken before, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medications, nutritional or vitamin supplements, and herbal products. 

Side Effects

The common side effects of cytarabine are fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, swallowing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, inflammation or ulceration in the mouth or anus, high blood uric acid levels, hair loss, skin rashes, speaking difficulties, and inflammation in the vein. Other serious side effects include skin swelling and irritation, increased blood uric acid levels, blisters of the skin, irregular heartbeat, lung diseases, anemia, infection, and kidney problems. 

Word Of Advice

During the treatment with cytarabine, the administration of vaccines is not advised. If required, consult your doctor. This medicine may cause infertility in men and women. Inform your physician if you have ulcers or bleeding in the stomach or intestines.  This medicine may make you bleed or bruise easily; take precautions to prevent the illness. Store cytarabine at room temperature (25°C)

Frequently Asked Question


  1. Cytarabine Injection. [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from:
  2. Cytarabine Injection Solution 100 mg/ml - Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC) - (emc) [Internet]. [revised on 2020] [cited 2023 Mar 30]. Available from:
  3. Goodman & Gilman’s, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, Cytotoxic agents, 12th edition, 2011, 1698 – 1699.
  4. KD Tripathi, Essentials of Medical Pharmacology, Anticancer drugs, 7th edition, 2013, 864 - 865.


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.