Why is asparaginase important?

The oncology care team has put together a specific treatment plan to help battle acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Asparaginase therapy may be an important part of the plan.

Asparaginase is thought to help prevent leukemia cells from surviving by starving them of a substance they need.

To understand why asparaginase is important, let’s take a closer look at the role of asparagine:

Leukemic cells need asparagine to survive and reproduce (make more cancer cells)

  • Asparagine enters the leukemia cell and helps the cell reproduce
Leukemia cell reproduction

Asparaginase is believed to keep asparagine from helping leukemia cells to reproduce

  • Asparaginase treatment, such as ERWINAZE, breaks down asparagine so it is not available to enter the leukemia cell
    • When there is less asparagine available, leukemia cells may not be able to survive or reproduce
Interaction between asparaginase and leukemia cell

ERWINAZE is part of a chemotherapy program to treat patients who have acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer that affects the white blood cells that help fight infection. ERWINAZE is used in patients who have had an allergic reaction to a different type of asparaginase treatment.


Who should not receive ERWINAZE?
ERWINAZE should not be given to people who have had:

  • Serious allergic reactions to ERWINAZE
  • Serious swelling of the pancreas (stomach pain), serious blood clots, or serious bleeding during prior L-asparaginase treatment

What are the possible side effects of ERWINAZE?
ERWINAZE may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions (a feeling of tightness in the throat, unusual swelling/redness in the throat and/or tongue, or trouble breathing), some of which may be life-threatening
  • Swelling of the pancreas (stomach pain)
  • Too much sugar in your blood (may be thirsty or need to urinate often)
  • Blood clots (may have headache or pain in leg, arm, or chest), or bleeding

Contact your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur.

Some of the most common side effects with ERWINAZE include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Too much sugar in the blood
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the pancreas
  • Local reactions (swelling, rash, etc. where the needle entered the skin)
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Blood clots (may have headache or pain in leg, arm, or chest)
  • Liver problems
  • Stomach pain/discomfort
  • Diarrhea

ERWINAZE can harm your unborn baby. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing. Females of reproductive potential should use effective contraception (other than oral contraceptives) during treatment and for 3 months following the final dose. Do not breastfeed while receiving ERWINAZE and for 3 months after the final dose.

Tell your healthcare provider if there are any side effects that are bothersome or that do not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of ERWINAZE. For more information, ask your healthcare provider.

Call your doctor for medical advice about any side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects to Jazz Pharmaceuticals at 1-800-520-5568.

How is ERWINAZE given?
ERWINAZE is given as an injection (a shot) into a muscle or infusion into a vein.

Please see full Prescribing Information and discuss with your doctor.