Cytarabine (Cytosar)

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General information

Class/mechanism: Pyrimidine analog, mimics cytosine. Converted intracellularly into cytarabine-5-triphosphate (ara-CTP). Exact mechanism of action not known; believed to inhibit DNA polymerase, incorporate into DNA and RNA, and kill cells undergoing DNA synthesis (S-phase) and sometimes block cells from progressing from the G1 phase to the S-phase.[1][2]
Route: IV, IT, SC
Extravasation: irritant or neutral, depending on reference

For conciseness and simplicity, currently will focus on treatment regimens and not list information such as: renal/hepatic dose adjustments, metabolism (including CYP450), excretion, monitoring parameters (although this will be considered for checklists), or manufacturer. Instead, for the most current information, please refer to your preferred pharmacopeias such as Micromedex, Lexicomp, UpToDate (courtesy of Lexicomp), or the prescribing information.[1]

Diseases for which it is used

Patient drug information

History of changes in FDA indication

  • June 1969: initial FDA approval

Also known as

Alcysten Alexan Alexan 100 ARA Ara-C Arabine Arabinosylcytosine Arabitin
ARA Cell Aracitin Aracytin Aracytine Arabinofuranosyl Cytidine Citagenin Citaloxan Citarabin
Citarabina Citarabina Filaxis Citarabina Martian Citarabina Pharmacia Citarabins Citarax Cylocide Cylocide-N
Cytarabin Cytarabin CS Cytarabine Cytarabine BVI Cytarabine Comp Cytarabine DBL Cytarabine Faulding Cytarabine FOT
Cytarabine Hydrochloride Cytarabine Mayne Onco-Tain Cytarabine Ocfosfate Cytarabine Pfizer Cytarabins Cytarabinum Cytarbel Cytarine
Cytosar Cytosar-U Cytosine Arabinoside Cytrosar Depocyt Depocyte Erbabin Erpalfa
Fauldcita Groven Ifarab Iretin Laracit Medsara Novutrax P&U Cytarabine
Remcyta Starasid Tabin Tabine Trav Cytarabine Udicil


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cytarabine (Cytosar) package insert
  2. Cytarabine (Cytosar) package insert (locally hosted backup)
  3. Cytarabine (Cytosar) patient drug information (Chemocare)
  4. Cytarabine (Cytosar) patient drug information (UpToDate)