If you're being treated for hairy cell leukemia, your first line of defense will likely be chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, you'll be given potent drugs that must be toxic enough to damage or kill leukemic cells. At the same time, they can take aim at normal cells and cause side effects. Yet, not everyone experiences side effects and people react differently.
The chemotherapy drug used to treat hairy cell leukemia is cladribine (Leustatin®). Cladribine is given in a vein (intravenously). You'll usually receive the treatment for seven consecutive days. For information about this drug, visit Drug Listings.