Toggle navigation
Toggle search

Cladribine (By injection)

Cladribine (KLAD-ri-been)

Treats certain kinds of leukemia.

Brand Name(s):

Cladribine Novaplus

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. You should not be treated with this medicine if you had an allergic reaction to cladribine.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and tell you how often it will be given.
  • Your medicine will be given through an IV into one your veins.
  • A nurse or other caregiver trained to give cancer drugs will give your treatment.
  • Missed dose: This medicine is usually given nonstop for 7 days. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or the clinic where you get your treatments for instructions.
  • If you receive your treatments at home:
    • Store your medicine in the refrigerator, in a place where children cannot get to it easily.
    • Take the medicine out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before your treatment to let it warm to room temperature.
    • You should be given a container for the used needles, medicine bag or bottles, and tubes. Store the container out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines and foods can affect how cladribine works. Do not receive a vaccine, such as a flu shot, while you are taking cladribine.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • This medicine can harm an unborn baby. Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while you are receiving this medicine. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before treatment begins.
  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease, kidney stones, gout, or any infections.
  • You may get infections more easily while you are receiving this medicine. Stay away from crowds or anyone who has a cold, the flu, or other infection.
  • Your doctor may prescribe medicine to prevent nausea and vomiting. Call your doctor if the medicine does not help.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blood in your urine or stools
  • Fever or chills
  • Pain, redness, or swelling at the IV site
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Severe mouth sores
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache, tiredness
  • Loss of appetite, nausea
  • Mild rash

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

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

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

All rights reserved

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and chrome browser.

We are physicians, hospitals and communities working together to help you live better.