Chemocare.com

Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond

Anagrelide



(a-NA-gre-lide)

Trade name: Agrylin®

Chemocare.com uses generic names in all descriptions of drugs. Agrylin is the trade name for Anagrelide.  In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name Agrylin when referring to the generic drug name Anagrelide.

Drug type: Anagrelide is considered a "phospholipase A2 inhibitor." (For more detail, see "How this drug works" below).

What this drug is used for:

  • To treat primary thrombocythemia, a blood disorder in which there are too many platelets in the blood.

Note:  If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.

How this drug given:

  • Anagrelide comes in capsule form, to be taken by mouth.
  • The amount of this medication that you receive, your schedule and how long you take it depends on many factors.  Your doctor will determine your dosage and schedule. 

Side effects:
Important things to remember about the side effects of anagrelide:

  • Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
  • Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
  • Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
  • There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.
  • There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of the medication.

The following side effect is common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking anagrelide:

  • Headache

The following side effects are less common (occurring in 10-29%) for patients taking anagrelide:

  • Heart palpitations (see heart problems)
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • A serious but rare side effect of anagrelide can be interference with the pumping action of the heart or heart attack 

Not all side effects are listed above, some that are rare (occurring in less than 10% of patients) are not listed here.  However, you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

When to contact your doctor or health care provider:

Anagrelide can cause unwanted effects on the heart, including a heart attack.  Check with your doctor and/or get emergency help immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of a heart attack. 

Symptoms of heart attack: anxiety, cold sweating, increased heart rate, severe pain in the chest and/or the jaw, neck, back, or arms, and shortness of breath.

The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency.  Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
  • Diarrhea (4 to 6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools or urine
  • Swelling of the feet or ankles
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)

Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

Precautions: 

  • Before starting anagrelide treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies). 
  • Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment.  Pregnancy category C (use in pregnancy only if benefit to mother outweighs risk to fetus).
  • For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking anagrelide. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.
  • Do not breast feed while taking this medication.

Self-care tips:

  • You may feel drowsy and/or dizzy when you first start taking anagrelide.  This should lessen as your body adjusts to the drug.  Do not drive a car or operate machinery if you are feeling drowsy, dizzy or less alert than usual.
  • To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
  • Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
  • In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be minimized or avoided.  You should discuss this with your doctor.
  • Get plenty of rest. 
  • Maintain good nutrition.

Monitoring and testing:

You will be monitored carefully and regularly by your doctor while you are taking anagrelide.  Before beginning this therapy and during treatment, your cardiovascular (heart) health will be assessed.  Blood tests and other monitoring will be done periodically throughout your treatment program to spot any side effects early on and to assess your response to the medicine.

How this drug works:

Thrombocythemia is a blood disorder in which there are too many platelets found in the blood.  The megakaryocyte is the cell type from which platelets are produced.  It is in the mature stage of the megakaryocyte's development that platelets are formed.  If this maturation process is stopped platelets are unable to be produced. 

Anagrelide interferes with the megakaryocyte maturation.  It does this by blocking an enzyme (phospholipase A2) which is needed for completing the maturation process of megakaryocytes.

Note:
We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.