Pegaspargase

Other Names: Oncaspar®

About This Drug

Pegaspargase is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV) or as an injection in a muscle (IM). 

Possible Side Effects

  • Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis are rare but may happen in some patients. Signs of allergic reaction to this drug may be swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way. If this happens, do not take another dose of this drug. You should get urgent medical treatment.
  • Blood sugar levels may change. If you have diabetes, changes may need to be made to your diabetes medication.
  • Inflammation of your pancreas
  • Stroke. Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden bad headache with no known cause. If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
  • Elevated blood clotting function, this may raise your risk of bleeding.
  • Changes in your liver function

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 2% or greater of patients treated with pegaspargase. Not all possible side effects are included above.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Blood clots and events such as stroke and heart attack. A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear read and warm, and/or cause pain. A blood clot in your lungs may cause trouble breathing, pain when breathing, and/or chest pain. 
  • Severe changes in your blood sugar levels
  • Severe increase in blood clotting function 

Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team. 

Important Information

  • This drug may be present in the saliva, tears, sweat, urine, stool, vomit, semen, and vaginal secretions. Talk to your doctor and/or your nurse about the necessary precautions to take during this time

Treating Side Effects

  • If you are diabetic, keep good control of your blood sugar level. Tell your nurse or your doctor if your glucose levels are higher or lower than normal.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of pegaspargase with food.
  • This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions.The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help. 

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Blood in your urine, vomit (bright red or coffee-ground) and/or stools ( bright red, or black/tarry)
  • Coughing up blood
  • Wheezing and/or trouble breathing
  • Chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. The pain may go away and come back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes pain is felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. If any of these symptoms last 2 minutes, call 911
  • Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden bad headache with no known cause. If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911. 
  • Signs of possible liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes skin
  • Abnormal blood sugar
  • Unusual thirst, passing urine often, headache, sweating, shakiness, irritability 
  • Nausea that stops your from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Signs of allergic reaction: swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way
  • Your leg or arm is swollen, red, warm, and/or painful
  • If you think you may be pregnant or have impregnated your partner

Reproduction Warnings 

  • Pregnancy warning: It is not known if this drug may harm an unborn child. For this reason, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while receiving this drug. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant or may have impregnated your partner.
  • Breastfeeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children.

Revised June 2018

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2018. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have.

CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.