Targeted Therapy Side Effects

Most targeted therapies affect the bone marrow so there is a risk of infection and bleeding.  Many patients experience fatigue and the drugs can cause nausea or bowel upset.  

The majority of side effects start in the days to weeks after starting the medication. Some may start months after starting treatment.  Please report any new side effects to your doctor so they can determine if they are realted to your cancer treatment and treat appropriately.

Ibrutinib (Imbruvica®)

Idelalisib (Zydelig®)

 Venetoclax (Venclexta®)

Most common side effects include: Most common side effects include: Most common side effects include:
  • Increased lymphocyte count
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Cough or difficulty breathing
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Decreased number of platelets, neutrophils and red blood cells
  • Infections
  • Mucositis
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision or dry eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • Anorexia
  • GERD
  • Bruising & bleeding
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • Diarrhea
  • Neutropenia (decreased neutrophil count)
  • Pain
  • Fatigue 
  • Cough 
  • Nausea & vomiting 
  • Fever 
  • Rash 
  • Infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Anorexia 
  • Chills 
  • Increased lymphocyte count
  • Insomnia 
  • Headache 
  • Edema 
  • Bleeding
  • Sore mouth 
  • Infection (ofter upper respiratory tract, sinus, pneumonia and urinary tract)
  • Decreasd numbers of neutrophils, red blood cells and platelets
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Elevated level of phosphate in the blood
  • Headache
  • Back pain
Serious side effects of ibrutinib may include:
  • Atrial fibrilation or atrial flutter
  • Pneumonia or lung disease
  • Myelosuppression or leukostasis (extremely elevated white blood cell count)
  • Subdural hematoma
  • Major bleeding events
  • Tumour lysis syndrome
  • Secondary malignancies
  • Leukoencephalopathy (disorders of brain white matter)
Serious side effects of idelalisib may include:
  • Myelosuppression (reduction in the number of blood cells)
  • Severe diarrhea/colitis 
  • Pneumonitis and serious infections
  • Hepatoxicity (liver damage)
  • Severe skin reactions
Serious side effects of venetoclax may include:
  • Myelosuppression
  • Serious infections
  • Secondary malignancies
  • Tumour lysis syndrome