What is this medication?
SARGRAMOSTIM (sar GRAM oh stim) lowers the risk of infection in people who are receiving chemotherapy. It works by helping your body make more white blood cells, which protects your body from infection. It may also be used to help people who have been exposed to high doses of radiation. It can be used to help prepare your body before a stem cell transplant. It can also be used after a stem cell transplant to promote faster recovery. It works by helping your bone marrow make and release stem cells into the blood.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Leukine
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Heart disease
- Lung or breathing disease, such as asthma or COPD
- An unusual or allergic reaction to sargramostim, yeast products, benzyl alcohol, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
This medication is injected under the skin or into a vein. It is usually given by your care team in a hospital or clinic setting. It may also be given at home.
If you get this medication at home, you will be taught how to prepare and give it. Use exactly as directed. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop.
It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or care team to get one.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While this medication may be prescribed for children as young as 2 years of age for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you get this medication at the hospital or clinic: It is important not to miss your dose. Call your care team if you are unable to keep an appointment.
If you give yourself this medication at home: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses. Call your care team with questions.
What may interact with this medication?
- Steroid medications, such as prednisone or cortisone
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse. You may need blood work done while you are taking this medication.
Talk to your care team before breast-feeding. Changes to your treatment plan may be needed.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Capillary leak syndrome—stomach or muscle pain, unusual weakness or fatigue, feeling faint or lightheaded, decrease in the amount of urine, swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet, trouble breathing
- Heart rhythm changes—fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, chest pain, trouble breathing
- High white blood cell level—fever, fatigue, trouble breathing, night sweats, change in vision, weight loss
- Infusion reactions—chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, feeling faint or lightheaded
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Bone pain
- Skin rash
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Throw away any unused medication after 20 days.
To get rid of medications that are no longer wanted or have expired:
- Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
- If you cannot return the medication, ask your pharmacist or care team how to get rid of this medication safely.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Sargramostim
- Injection tips:
- Allow sargramostim to come to room temperature before injecting.
- Rotate injection sites.
- Do not rub the skin before or after injections.
- Apply ice to the site for 1 minute immediately prior to injecting.
- Inject slowly.
- Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
- If you are taking sargramostim for low white blood cells following chemotherapy, you may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds and those not feeling well, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- For flu-like symptoms, keep warm with blankets and drink plenty of liquids.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help relieve discomfort from fever, headache and/or generalized aches and pains. However, be sure to talk with your doctor before taking it.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
When to contact your doctor or health care provider:
Seek emergency help immediately and notify your health care provider, it you experience the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, difficulty breathing, closing up of the throat, swelling of facial features, hives (possible allergic reaction).
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection)
- Dizziness (especially when changing position), sudden swelling or rapid weight gain, little or no urine output (for 8-12 hours), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeats, or chest pain.
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:
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Swelling, redness and/or pain in one leg or arm and not the other
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.