Asparaginase is a drug used to kill cancer cells, especially cancerous blood cells. This drug works by breaking down an enzyme called asparagin that is found in all cells. Healthy cells can renew themselves by making more asparagin, while cancer cells cannot do this and die as a result.
Some people feel generally unwell or weak while on this drug. Asparaginase causes the following common side effects:
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe stomach pain, nausea and vomiting
- Joint pain
- Swelling in the face
- Rashes and itches
Contact your doctor immediately if you have any of these side effects, especially if you have trouble breathing.