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Brand names:


Other names:


Often used for:

Leukemia, Lymphoma

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About Pegaspargase

Pegaspargase is a type of chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cells. It is used in combination with other medicines. Pegaspargase is given to patients who have had allergic reactions to similar drugs such as asparaginase (Elspar®) or Erwinia asparaginase.

Patients will be monitored closely for signs of an allergic reaction.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts, blood clotting factors, pancreatic enzymes, blood sugar and monitor liver function and kidney function.

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May be injected into muscle

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May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV

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Possible Side Effects

  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Increased risk of bleeding or blood clots
  • Liver problems
  • Increased triglyceride levels in the bloods
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Ongoing abdominal pain that may spread to the back, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Swelling, pain, redness, and warmth at the injection site if given into muscle

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: hives, rash, itching, difficulty breathing and/or swallowing.

Not all patients who take pegaspargase will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Patients should tell a doctor if they:
    • Have or ever had pancreatitis, blood clots, or severe bleeding, especially if these happened during treatment with asparaginase (Elspar®) or pegaspargase (Oncaspar®) 
    • Have or ever had diabetes
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after completion of therapy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.