Litak Uses

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What is Litak?

Litak belongs to the group of medicines called antimetabolites. It is used to treat hairy cell leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It is also sometimes used to treat other kinds of cancer, as determined by your doctor.

Litak interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by Litak, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects may not occur for months or years after the medicine is used.

Before you begin treatment with Litak, you and your doctor should talk about the good Litak will do as well as the risks of using it.

Litak is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, Litak is used in certain patients with the following conditions:

  • Cancer of the blood and lymph system
  • Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (a certain type of cancer of the blood)

Litak indications

infoAn indication is a term used for the list of condition or symptom or illness for which the medicine is prescribed or used by the patient. For example, acetaminophen or paracetamol is used for fever by the patient, or the doctor prescribes it for a headache or body pains. Now fever, headache and body pains are the indications of paracetamol. A patient should be aware of the indications of medications used for common conditions because they can be taken over the counter in the pharmacy meaning without prescription by the Physician.

Litak Injection, USP is indicated for the treatment of active Hairy Cell Leukemia as defined by clinically significant anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia or disease-related symptoms.

How should I use Litak?

Use Litak as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Litak is given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use Litak if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • If Litak accidentally spills on your skin, wash it off right away with soap and water. Clean any areas (counters, tables) where Litak may have spilled or sprayed.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Litak, contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Litak.

Uses of Litak in details

infoThere are specific as well as general uses of a drug or medicine. A medicine can be used to prevent a disease, treat a disease over a period or cure a disease. It can also be used to treat the particular symptom of the disease. The drug use depends on the form the patient takes it. It may be more useful in injection form or sometimes in tablet form. The drug can be used for a single troubling symptom or a life-threatening condition. While some medications can be stopped after few days, some drugs need to be continued for prolonged period to get the benefit from it.

Litak is used in treatment of hairy cell leukemia (type of white blood cell cancer) and B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (illness caused by the abnormal growth of a type of white blood cell called B-cells) that has not responded to standard anti-cancer treatment.

Litak description

An antineoplastic agent used in the treatment of lymphoproliferative diseases including hairy-cell leukemia. [PubChem]

Litak dosage

Usual Dose

The recommended dose and schedule of Litak Injection for active Hairy Cell Leukemia is as a single course given by continuous infusion for 7 consecutive days at a dose of 0.09 mg/kg/day. Deviations from this dosage regimen are not advised. If the patient does not respond to the initial course of Litak Injection for Hairy Cell Leukemia, it is unlikely that they will benefit from additional courses. Physicians should consider delaying or discontinuing the drug if neurotoxicity or renal toxicity occurs.

Specific risk factors predisposing to increased toxicity from Litak have not been defined. In view of the known toxicities of agents of this class, it would be prudent to proceed carefully in patients with known or suspected renal insufficiency or severe bone marrow impairment of any etiology. Patients should be monitored closely for hematologic and non-hematologic toxicity.

Preparation and Administration of

Intravenous Solutions

Litak Injection must be diluted with the designated diluent prior to administration. Since the drug product does not contain any anti-microbial preservative or bacteriostatic agent, aseptic technique and proper environmental precautions must be observed in preparation of Litak Injection solutions.

To prepare a single daily dose

Litak Injection should be passed through a sterile 0.22μm disposable hydrophilic syringe filter prior to introduction into the infusion bag, prior to each daily infusion. Add the calculated dose (0.09 mg/kg or 0.09 mL/kg) of Litak Injection through the sterile filter to an infusion bag containing 500 mL of 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP. Infuse continuously over 24 hours. Repeat daily for a total of 7 consecutive days. The use of 5% dextrose as a diluent is not recommended because of increased degradation of Litak. Admixtures of Litak Injection are chemically and physically stable for at least 24 hours at room temperature under normal room fluorescent light in Baxter Viaflex®† PVC infusion containers. Since limited compatibility data are available, adherence to the recommended diluents and infusion systems is advised.

Dose of Litak Injection Recommended Diluent Quantity of Diluent
24-hour infusion method 1(day) x 0.09 mg/kg 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP 500 mL

To prepare a 7-day infusion

The 7-day infusion solution should only be prepared with Bacteriostatic 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP (0.9% benzyl alcohol preserved). In order to minimize the risk of microbial contamination, both Litak Injection and the diluent should be passed through a sterile 0.22 μm disposable hydrophilic syringe filter as each solution is being introduced into the infusion reservoir. First add the calculated dose of Litak Injection (7 days x 0.09 mg/kg or mL/kg) to the infusion reservoir through the sterile filter.

Then add a calculated amount of Bacteriostatic 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP (0.9% benzyl alcohol preserved) also through the filter to bring the total volume of the solution to 100 mL. After completing solution preparation, clamp off the line, disconnect and discard the filter. Aseptically aspirate air bubbles from the reservoir as necessary using the syringe and a dry second sterile filter or a sterile vent filter assembly. Reclamp the line and discard the syringe and filter assembly. Infuse continuously over 7 days. Solutions prepared with Bacteriostatic Sodium Chloride Injection for individuals weighing more than 85 kg may have reduced preservative effectiveness due to greater dilution of the benzyl alcohol preservative. Admixtures for the 7-day infusion have demonstrated acceptable chemical and physical stability for at least 7 days in the SIMS Deltec MEDICATION CASSETTE™ Reservoir‡.

Dose of Litak Injection Recommended Diluent Quantity of Diluent
7-day infusion method (use sterile 0.22μ filter when preparing infusion solution) 7 (days) x 0.09 mg/kg Bacteriostatic 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP (0.9% benzyl alcohol) q.s. to 100 mL

Since limited compatibility data are available, adherence to the recommended diluents and infusion systems is advised. Solutions containing Litak Injection should not be mixed with other intravenous drugs or additives or infused simultaneously via a common intravenous line, since compatibility testing has not been performed. Preparations containing benzyl alcohol should not be used in neonates.

Care must be taken to assure the sterility of prepared solutions. Once diluted, solutions of Litak Injection should be administered promptly or stored in the refrigerator (2° to 8° C) for no more than 8 hours prior to start of administration. Vials of Litak Injection are for single-use only. Any unused portion should be discarded in an appropriate manner.

Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit. A precipitate may occur during the exposure of Litak Injection to low temperatures; it may be resolubilized by allowing the solution to warm naturally to room temperature and by shaking vigorously. DO NOT HEAT OR MICROWAVE.

Chemical Stability of Vials

When stored in refrigerated conditions between 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F) protected from light, unopened vials of Litak Injection are stable until the expiration date indicated on the package. Freezing does not adversely affect the solution. If freezing occurs, thaw naturally to room temperature. DO NOT heat or microwave. Once thawed, the vial of Litak Injection is stable until expiry if refrigerated. DO NOT refreeze. Once diluted, solutions containing Litak Injection should be administered promptly or stored in the refrigerator (2° to 8°C) for no more than 8 hours prior to administration.

Handling and Disposal

The potential hazards associated with cytotoxic agents are well established and proper precautions should be taken when handling, preparing, and administering Litak Injection. The use of disposable gloves and protective garments is recommended. If Litak Injection contacts the skin or mucous membranes, wash the involved surface immediately with copious amounts of water. Several guidelines on this subject have been published. Reservoir, manufactured by SIMS Deltec, Inc. - Reorder No. 602100A (tested in 1991)

Centocor Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. Raritan, NJ 08869. Revised July 2012

Litak interactions

See also:
What other drugs will affect Litak?


There are no known drug interactions with Litak Injection. Caution should be exercised if Litak Injection is administered before, after, or in conjunction with other drugs known to cause immunosuppression or myelosuppression.

Litak side effects

See also:
What are the possible side effects of Litak?

Applies to Litak: intravenous solution

Along with its needed effects, Litak (the active ingredient contained in Litak Novaplus) may cause some unwanted effects. Some side effects will have signs or symptoms that you can see or feel. Your doctor may watch for others by doing certain tests.

Also, because of the way cancer medicines act on the body, there is a chance that they might cause other unwanted effects that may not occur until months or years after the medicine is used. These delayed effects may include certain types of cancer. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking Litak:

More common:

  • Black, tarry stools
  • blood in urine
  • cough or hoarseness, accompanied by fever or chills
  • fever
  • lower back or side pain, accompanied by fever or chills
  • painful or difficult urination, accompanied by fever or chills
  • pinpoint red spots on skin
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Severity: Moderate

If any of the following side effects occur while taking Litak, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

More common:

  • Skin rash
Less common:
  • Pain or redness at place of injection
  • shortness of breath
  • stomach pain
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • unusually fast heartbeat

This medicine may also cause the following side effects that your doctor will watch out for:

More common:

  • Anemia
  • low white cell counts in blood

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with Litak may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:

  • Headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • unusual tiredness
  • vomiting
Less common:
  • Constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • itching
  • muscle or joint pain
  • sweating
  • trouble in sleeping
  • weakness

Litak contraindications

See also:
What is the most important information I should know about Litak?


Do not use Litak if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

Before you receive Litak, tell your doctor If you have liver or kidney disease or a bone marrow problem.

Litak can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood may need to be tested often. Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding injury. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using Litak, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you.

Tell your caregivers at once if you have a serious side effect such as numbness or tingling, weakness or burning pain in your fingers or toes, lower back pain, blood in your urine, urinating less than usual, muscle weakness or tightness, pale or yellowed skin, easy bruising or bleeding, dark colored urine, or feeling like you might pass out.

Active ingredient matches for Litak:

Cladribine in Australia, Austria, Croatia (Hrvatska), Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan.

Unit description / dosage (Manufacturer)Price, USD
Injectable; Injection; Cladribine 2 mg / ml
Litak 2 mg/1 mL x 5 mL

List of Litak substitutes (brand and generic names):

Injectable; Injection; Cladribine 1 mg / ml
Leustatin 10 mg/10 ml vial$ 102.78
Cladribine 10 mg/10 ml vial$ 34.20
Cladribine injection 1 mg/mL (Pfizer Laboratories Div Pfizer Inc. (US))
1 mg x 1 mL x 10ml (Fresenius Kabi)
CLADRIM 10 MG INJECTION 1 vial / 1 injection each (Fresenius Kabi)$ 193.37
CLADRIM inj 1 mg x 1 mL x 10ml (Fresenius Kabi)$ 193.37
Cladrim 10mg Injection (Fresenius Kabi)$ 193.37
Injectable; Injection; Cladribine 1 mg / ml
Injectable; Injection; Cladribine 1 mg / ml (Janssen-cilag)
Injectable; Injection; Cladribine 1 mg / ml (Cilag)
Leustatin 1 mg/1 mL x 10 mL (Cilag)
Leustatin / single-use 1 mg/1 mL x 10 mL x 1's (Cilag)$ 7500.00
Leustatin / vial 1 mg/1 mL x 20 mL x 1's (Cilag)
Leustatin 1mg/ml solution 1 mg (Janssen Inc (Canada))
Injectable; Injection; Cladribine 1 mg / ml (Janssen-cilag)
Injectable; Injection; Cladribine 1 mg / ml


  1. PubChem. "Cladribine". (accessed September 17, 2018).


The results of a survey conducted on for Litak are given in detail below. The results of the survey conducted are based on the impressions and views of the website users and consumers taking Litak. We implore you to kindly base your medical condition or therapeutic choices on the result or test conducted by a physician or licensed medical practitioners.

User reports

Consumer reported useful

No survey data has been collected yet

Consumer reported price estimates

No survey data has been collected yet

1 consumer reported time for results

To what extent do I have to use Litak before I begin to see changes in my health conditions?
As part of the reports released by website users, it takes 5 days and a few days before you notice an improvement in your health conditions.
Please note, it doesn't mean you will start to notice such health improvement in the same time frame as other users. There are many factors to consider, and we implore you to visit your doctor to know how long before you can see improvements in your health while taking Litak. To get the time effectiveness of using Litak drug by other patients, please click here.
5 days1

1 consumer reported age


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Information checked by Dr. Sachin Kumar, MD Pharmacology

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