Also known as: Chlorambucil
Leukeran is approved to treat certain types of the following forms of cancer:
- chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), such as follicular lymphoma (FL)
- Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)
With cancer, abnormal (cancer) cells quickly multiply in certain areas of your body. (Cells that multiply are making more cells.)
Leukeran works by slowing cancer cells from multiplying. And the drug also works by killing the cancer cells. While Leukeran doesn’t cure cancer, it can slow the disease from worsening.
How long does it take to work?
Leukeran begins to work after your first dose of the drug. But you may not notice any changes in symptoms caused by your cancer.
This is because Leukeran slows your cancer from worsening. But it doesn’t necessarily treat symptoms of cancer.
Depending on the type of cancer you have, your doctor may order certain tests to see if Leukeran is working for you. In some cases, this may include certain blood or imaging tests.
Talk with your doctor about how’ll they’ll monitor your progress during Leukeran treatment.
The Leukeran dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the condition you’re using Leukeran to treat
- your weight
- how often you take Leukeran
- other medical conditions you may have
- results from certain lab tests you’ll have while you’re taking Leukeran
Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Drug forms and strengths
Leukeran is available as 2-mg tablets that are taken by mouth.
Dosage for chronic lymphocytic leukemia
The usual dose of Leukeran for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is 0.1 mg of drug per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg). This dose is typically taken once daily.
Intermittent dosing vs. daily dosing for CLL
In some cases, doctors may prescribe intermittent dosing for Leukeran for CLL rather than daily dosing. With intermittent dosing, the drug is taken once every 2 weeks or once each month. And in these cases, the dose of Leukeran given may be different than the typical dose given.
For some people with CLL, intermittent Leukeran dosing works better than daily dosing. In addition, certain side effects, such as changes in blood cell levels, may be reduced with intermittent dosing.
Dosage for lymphoma
Below we describe the typical doses of Leukeran for certain types of lymphoma that Leukeran is approved to treat.
Dosage for certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), such as follicular lymphoma (FL)
The usual dose of Leukeran to treat certain types of NHL, such as FL, is 0.1 mg of drug per kg of body weight (mg/kg). This dose is typically taken once each day.
Dosage for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)
The usual dose of Leukeran to treat HL is 0.2 mg/kg. This dose is typically taken once each day.
The safety and effectiveness of Leukeran hasn’t been studied in children. But in some cases, Leukeran is prescribed for children with certain conditions. (Keep in mind that this is an off-label use of the drug. With off-label use, a drug that’s approved for certain uses is given or being studied for a different use.)
Because the Leukeran hasn’t been approved for use in children, the drug’s manufacturer hasn’t recommended a typical dosage for children.
If you have questions about pediatric dosage for Leukeran, talk with your child’s doctor. They can recommend a dosage of Leukeran for your child’s needs.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Leukeran, call your doctor’s office. You doctor or their medical staff can help you determine when you should take your next dose of the drug. And they’ll recommend whether you should take a dose to make up for the missed dose.
To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.
Will I need to use this drug long term?
It depends. The number of Leukeran treatment cycles you’ll receive may depend on several factors. These include the type and severity of your cancer, as well as your medical history.
In one study of people with CLL, the people took chlorambucil (the active drug in Leukeran) every 28 days for up to 12 months. And a review of studies found that, across several clinical studies of chlorambucil for CLL treatment, people took between 6 and 12 treatment cycles of the drug.
Leukeran is usually given every day for 3 to 6 weeks. But your doctor may recommend that you take it once every 2 weeks or once each month.
If you have questions about how long you’ll need to take Leukeran, talk with your doctor.
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include agitation, fast heartbeats, skin rash, bruising, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, trouble breathing, or signs of infection (fever, chills, weakness).
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F) and away from excess moisture and heat. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date. Keep out of the reach of children.