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Rasburicase (Elitek)

About This Drug

Rasburicase is used to prevent and treat high uric acid levels due to cancer and cancer treatment. It is given in the vein (IV). 

Possible Side Effects

  • Pain in your throat
  • Nausea and vomiting (throwing up)
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Constipation (unable to move bowels)
  • Diarrhea (loose bowel movements)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swelling in your legs, ankles, and/or feet
  • Changes in your liver function
  • Electrolyte changes
  • Feeling nervous or worried (anxiety)

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater of patients treated with rasburicase in combination with chemotherapy. Not all possible side effects are included above. 

Warnings and Precautions

  • 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.
  • This drug may cause a very rare, but serious condition that result in too little oxygen being carried by red blood cells.
  • This drug should be avoided if you have a disorder known as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD) that can cause breakdown of your red blood cells, anemia (decreased red blood cells) and other problems.

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

  • Tell your doctor if you have ever been told you have G6PD deficiency.

Treating Side Effects

  • Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicines that are available to help stop or lessen constipation or diarrhea.
  • If you are not able to move your bowels, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack of water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • If you have diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping.
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help stop or lessen these symptoms.
  • If you are feeling anxious, talk to your nurse or doctor about ways to help relieve your anxiety.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of rasburicase 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.

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 100.4° F (38° C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Headache that does not go away
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Anxiety or tiredness that interferes with your daily activities
  • Pain in your abdomen that does not go away
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • No bowel movement in 3 days or when you feel uncomfortable.
  • Diarrhea, 4 times in one day or diarrhea with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • 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 or skin
  • Jaundice – yellowing of skin or eyes due to increased bilirubin
  • Decreased urine or very dark urine
  • 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. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
  • If you think you may be pregnant

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: Women should not breastfeed during treatment and for 2 weeks after treatment because this drug could 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. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.

Revised January 2020

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2020. 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.