What is Decitabine?

Decitabine (Dacogen) is an antimetabolite chemotherapy medication. It used to treat myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). A non-FDA approved, off-label use of this drug is for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This medication incorporates itself into the DNA strands; this prevents the DNA strands from replicating properly, ultimately causing cell death.

How is it administered?

Decitabine is administered intravenously over 1 to 3 hours. Average infusion time is approximately around 1 hour. Although it does not cause a great degree of nausea, it is still recommended that pre-medications are infused prior to help prevent the development of nausea.

What to expect:

Decitabine can cause anemia and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections. Other side effects include: peripheral edema, low blood pressure, fever, weakness, headache, insomnia, chills, bruising, elevated blood sugar, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, rash, redness, increased liver enzymes, cough, shortness of breath, itching, increased heart rate and blurred vision. Laboratory tests are perfomed routinely during the course of therapy to help monitor and mange these side effects.