Leucovorin - Benefits, dosage and side effects

Leucovorin is a drug used to prevent the side effects of methotrexate or to help treat megaloblastic anemia. In addition, this drug is also sometimes used together with fluorouracil to treat colon cancer.

Leucovorin is a folic acid derivative. Folic acid has a function to help the body produce and maintain healthy cells and also prevents changes in cell DNA. As a form of folic acid, leucovorin also works by protecting healthy cells from exposure to methotrexate.

Leucovorin trademark: DBL Leucovorin Calcium Injection USP, Leucovorin Calcium

What is Leucovorin

groupPrescription drugs
CategoryFolic acid derivatives
BenefitPreventing methotrexate side effects
Used byAdults and children
Leucovorin for pregnant and lactating womenCategory C: Animal studies have shown adverse effects on the fetus, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women. Drugs should only be used if the expected benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus.

It is not known whether leucovorin is absorbed into breast milk or not. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.


Precautions Before Using Leucovorin

There are several things you should pay attention to before using leucovorin, including:

  • Tell your doctor if you have a history of allergies to leucovorin or to other folic acid derivative products, such as levoleucovorin.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or are currently suffering from anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Leucovorin should not be used under these conditions.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or are currently suffering from liver disease, kidney disease, or disease of the respiratory tract.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines and supplements.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
  • See your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction or overdose after taking leucovorin.

Dosage and Instructions for Use of Leucovorin

Leucovorin injection will be given by a doctor or medical officer under the supervision of a doctor. Injections of this drug can be given through a vein (intravenous / IV) or through a muscle (intramuscular / IM). The dose given depends on the condition the patient wants to treat. Here is the explanation:

  • Purpose: Preventing methotrexate side effects

    15 mg, given by IV or IM injection every 6 hours for 10 doses. Used 24 hours after the start of methotrexate infusion.

  • Purpose: Treating megaloblastic anemia due to folic acid deficiency

    1 mg, by IV or IM injection, once daily.

How to Use Leucovorin Correctly

Leucovorin injection will be given directly by a doctor or medical officer under the supervision of a doctor. The drug will be injected through an intravenous or intramuscular vein.

Be sure to always follow the doctor's recommendations and advice while undergoing treatment with leucovorin.

Store leucovorin in a place away from direct sunlight. Keep out of reach of children.

Leucovorin Interactions with Other Drugs

The following are some interactions that may occur if leucovorin is used in combination with other medicines:

  • Increases blood levels of folic acid when used with primidone, phenytoin, or phenoarbital
  • Increases the risk of the toxic effects of the drug florouracil
  • Increases the effect and levels of the drug capecitabine
  • Increased risk of treatment failure with trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole
  • Decreased levels and effectiveness of leucovorin when used with glucarpidase

Leucovorin Side Effects and Dangers

There are several side effects that can occur after using leucovorin, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Throw up
  • Nauseous
  • Seizures

Check with your doctor if the side effects above don't go away or get worse. Immediately see a doctor if there is an allergic reaction to the drug which can be characterized by the appearance of an itchy rash on the skin, swelling of the eyelids and lips, or difficulty breathing.