Side Effects of Vincristine and L-Asparaginase in Patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in a Mexican Pediatric Hospital


Background: The treatment used to combat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is multidrug; therefore it is important to use active pharmacovigilance to detect, assess and analyze the likely adverse reactions which may occur during the same period. Objective: To determine the frequency of adverse reactions to chemotherapeutic drugs in children with ALL. Material and Methods: Intensive pharmacovigilance was used to record the reports of adverse reactions to vincristine, L-asparaginase and the vincristine-L-asparaginase combination in children with ALL in a paediatric hospital. For each notification, the adverse reactions were analyzed in order to verify causality. Results: Forty patients were evaluated. Twenty children were female (50.0%) and 20 were male (50%). The children had a mean age, weight and height (±standard deviation: SD) of 8.1 (±3.4) years, 31.4 (±13.9) kg and 1.3 (±0.2) m, respectively. Vincristine was administered to 19 patients, vincristine plus L-asparaginase were given to 19 patients and only 2 patients used L-asparaginase. One-hundred-ninety adverse reactions were detected in the patients, with an average (±SD) of 4.8 (±2.6). Ondansetron was the drug administered for the treating of nausea and vomiting. One hundred eighty-one (95.3%) adverse reactions were identified as “definite”, 5 (2.6%) as “probable” and 4 (2.1%) as “doubtful”. Conclusions: There is a high incidence of adverse reactions by the administration of vincristine and L-asparaginase; the reactions of highest incidence were: nausea, vomiting, neutropenia, diarrhea, constipation, mucositis, headache, and abdominal pain. It is important to promote the detection, collection, reporting, assessment and treatment of ARD’s in children. It is necessary to promote the conduct further studies on pharmacovigilance with this type of treatments and to increase the duration of the studies.

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M. Ortiz, S. Rivera-Roldán, M. Escamilla-Acosta, G. Romo-Hernández, H. Ponce-Monter and R. Escárcega-Ángeles, "Side Effects of Vincristine and L-Asparaginase in Patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in a Mexican Pediatric Hospital," Pharmacology & Pharmacy, Vol. 4 No. 3, 2013, pp. 347-354. doi: 10.4236/pp.2013.43050.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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