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Clolar (Clofarabine) - Warnings and Precautions



Hematologic Toxicity

Clolar causes myelosuppression which may be severe and prolonged. Febrile neutropenia occurred in 55% and non-febrile neutropenia in an additional 10% of pediatric patients in clinical trials. At initiation of treatment, most patients in the clinical studies had hematological impairment as a manifestation of leukemia. Myelosuppression is usually reversible with interruption of Clolar treatment and appears to be dose-dependent. Monitor complete blood counts and platelet counts daily during the 5 days of Clolar administration, then 1–2 times weekly or as clinically indicated [see Dosage and Administration ].


Clolar increases the risk of infection, including severe and fatal sepsis, and opportunistic infections. At baseline, 48% of the pediatric patients had one or more concurrent infections. A total of 83% of patients experienced at least one infection after Clolar treatment, including fungal, viral and bacterial infections. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection, discontinue Clolar, and treat promptly.

Hyperuricemia (Tumor Lysis)

Administration of Clolar may result in tumor lysis syndrome associated with the break-down metabolic products from peripheral leukemia cell death. Monitor patients undergoing treatment for signs and symptoms of tumor lysis syndrome and initiate preventive measures including adequate intravenous fluids and measures to control uric acid.

Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) and Capillary Leak Syndrome

Clolar may cause a cytokine release syndrome (e.g., tachypnea, tachycardia, hypotension, pulmonary edema) that may progress to the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) with capillary leak syndrome and organ impairment which may be fatal. Monitor patients frequently for these conditions. In clinical trials, SIRS was reported in two patients (2%); capillary leak syndrome was reported in four patients (4%). Symptoms included rapid onset of respiratory distress, hypotension, pleural and pericardial effusion, and multi-organ failure. Close monitoring for this syndrome and early intervention may reduce the risk. Immediately discontinue Clolar and provide appropriate supportive measures. The use of prophylactic steroids (e.g., 100 mg/m2 hydrocortisone on Days 1 through 3) may be of benefit in preventing signs or symptoms of SIRS or capillary leak. Consider use of diuretics and/or albumin. After the patient is stabilized and organ function has returned to baseline, re-treatment with Clolar can be considered with a 25% dose reduction.

Venous Occlusive Disease of the Liver

Patients who have previously received a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) are at higher risk for veno-occlusive disease (VOD) of the liver following treatment with clofarabine (40 mg/m2) when used in combination with etoposide (100 mg/m2) and cyclophosphamide (440 mg/m2). Severe hepatotoxic events have been reported in a combination study of clofarabine in pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory acute leukemia. Two cases (2%) of VOD in the mono-therapy studies were considered related to study drug. Monitor for and discontinue Clolar if VOD is suspected.


Severe and fatal hepatotoxicity has occurred with the use of Clolar. In clinical studies, Grade 3–4 liver enzyme elevations were observed in pediatric patients during treatment with Clolar at the following rates: elevated aspartate aminotransferase (AST) occurred in 36% of patients; elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) occurred in 44% of patients. AST and ALT elevations typically occurred within 10 days of Clolar administration and returned to Grade 2 or less within 15 days. Grade 3 or 4 elevated bilirubin occurred in 13% of patients, with 2 events reported as Grade 4 hyperbilirubinemia (2%), one of which resulted in treatment discontinuation and one patient had multi-organ failure and died. Eight patients (7%) had Grade 3 or 4 elevations in serum bilirubin at the last time point measured; these patients died due to sepsis and/or multi-organ failure. Monitor hepatic function and discontinue Clolar for Grade 3 or greater liver enzyme elevations [see Adverse Reactions ].

Renal Toxicity

In clinical studies, Grade 3 or 4 elevated creatinine occurred in 8% of patients; acute renal failure was reported as Grade 3 in three patients (3%) and Grade 4 in two patients (2%). Hematuria was observed in 13% of patients overall. Monitor patients for renal toxicity and interrupt or discontinue Clolar as necessary.

Embryo-fetal Toxicity

Clolar can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Intravenous doses of clofarabine in rats and rabbits administered during organogenesis caused an increase in resorptions, malformations, and variations [see Use in Specific Populations ].



Pregnancy Category D

Clolar (clofarabine) may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman.

Clofarabine was teratogenic in rats and rabbits. Developmental toxicity (reduced fetal body weight and increased post-implantation loss) and increased incidences of malformations and variations (gross external, soft tissue, skeletal and retarded ossification) were observed in rats receiving 54 mg/m2/day (approximately equivalent to the recommended clinical dose on a mg/m2 basis), and in rabbits receiving 12 mg/m2/day (approximately 23% of the recommended clinical dose on a mg/m2 basis).

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women using clofarabine. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.

Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant while receiving treatment with clofarabine. All patients should be advised to use effective contraceptive measures to prevent pregnancy.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether clofarabine or its metabolites are excreted in human milk. Because of the potential for tumorigenicity shown for clofarabine in animal studies and the potential for serious adverse reactions, women treated with clofarabine should not nurse. Female patients should be advised to avoid breast-feeding during treatment with Clolar.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness have been established in pediatric patients 1 to 21 years old with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Geriatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of Clolar has not been established in geriatric patients aged 65 and older.

Adults with Hematologic Malignancies

Safety and effectiveness have not been established in adults.

Renal Impairment

Reduce the Clolar starting dose by 50% in patients with CrCL of 30 to 60 mL/min. There is insufficient information to make a dosage recommendation in patients with CrCL less than 30 mL/min or in patients on dialysis.

The pharmacokinetics of clofarabine in patients with renal impairment and normal renal function were obtained from a population pharmacokinetic analysis of three pediatric and two adult studies. In patients with CrCL 60 to less than 90 mL/min (N = 47) and CrCL 30 to less than 60 mL/min (N = 30), the average AUC of clofarabine increased by 60% and 140%, respectively, compared to patients with normal (N = 66) renal function (CrCL greater than 90 mL/min).

Hepatic Impairment

Clolar has not been studied in patients with hepatic impairment.

Page last updated: 2013-01-18

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