Generic Name: Cytarabine (SYE-tare-uh-bene)Brand Name: DepoCyt

DepoCyt will be given in a setting where you can be closely monitored by your doctor because it may cause a side effect called chemical arachnoiditis. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fever. This can be fatal if left untreated. Your doctor will usually give you another medicine called dexamethasone to decrease the risk and severity of this side effect.

DepoCyt is used for:

Treating lymphomatous meningitis.

DepoCyt is an antimetabolite. The way DepoCyt works is not completely understood. It may work by binding to the RNA or DNA of certain cancer cells, which helps to slow down their growth and reproduction. It may also act by inhibiting an enzyme that works in the cancer cell reproduction.

Do NOT use DepoCyt if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in DepoCyt
  • you have an infection in the covering of your brain and spinal cord (meningeal infection)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using DepoCyt :

Some medical conditions may interact with DepoCyt . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have spinal fluid problems, or you are receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • if you cannot take dexamethasone

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with DepoCyt . However, no specific interactions with DepoCyt are known at this time.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if DepoCyt may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use DepoCyt :

Use DepoCyt as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • DepoCyt is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you have about DepoCyt .
  • Do not shake DepoCyt .
  • If the medicine contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial/container is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Your doctor will usually prescribe another medicine called dexamethasone to reduce the risk of side effects from DepoCyt . It is important to take it. If you develop side effects from dexamethasone or cannot take it, contact your doctor immediately.
  • If you miss a dose of DepoCyt , contact your doctor immediately for instructions.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use DepoCyt .

Important safety information:

  • DepoCyt may cause drowsiness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to DepoCyt . Using DepoCyt alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • DepoCyt may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. To prevent bleeding, avoid situations in which bruising or injury may occur. Report any unusual bleeding, bruising, blood in stools, or dark, tarry stools to your doctor.
  • If you get DepoCyt on your skin, wash immediately with soap and water. Clean any areas (tables, counters) where the medicine may have been spilled or sprayed.
  • DepoCyt may lower your body's ability to fight infection. To prevent infection, avoid contact with people who have colds or other infections. Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have thoroughly washed your hands first.
  • The use of birth control is recommended while you are taking DepoCyt .
  • LAB TESTS, including liver and kidney function tests and complete blood cell count, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use DepoCyt with extreme caution in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: DepoCyt has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using DepoCyt during pregnancy. It is unknown if DepoCyt is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast feed while taking DepoCyt .

Possible side effects of DepoCyt :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Drowsiness; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); back pain; bowel or bladder problems; confusion; extreme tiredness; fever; headache; hearing problems or deafness; nausea; neck pain or rigidity; one-sided weakness; pain, numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in arms or legs; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; sore throat; unusual bruising or bleeding; vision problems or blindness; vomiting.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of DepoCyt :

Store DepoCyt in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze or shake. Keep DepoCyt , as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about DepoCyt , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • DepoCyt is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about DepoCyt . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

  • DepoCyt Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • DepoCyt Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
  • Cytarabine Liposomal Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Depocyt Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information