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Posted by on Jun 23, 2019 in Leukemia | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study summarised the side effects of ibrutinib (Imbruvica) and how to manage them. 

Some background

Ibrutinib is an FDA approved drug used to treat lymphoma and leukemia. It works on the immune cells in the body which may lead to many side effects. These include diarrhea, upper respiratory infections, bleeding, tiredness, and heart side effects. It is important to understand how to manage these side effects.

Methods & findings

Skin rash and bruising of different types may affect between 2 and 27% of patients. These can be generally treated with topical (local) steroid cream. Oral antihistamines (antiallergy drugs) may be used in some cases.

Hair (26%) and nails (66%) – softening and straightening of hair and weak, breaking nails are usually seen 6 months after treatment. Supplements may be useful for these patients.

Bleeding – blood found in the urine, gut, and brain have been identified. This may occur in up to 50% of patients. Severe bruising may lead to stopping ibrutinib therapy. Many of the ibrutinib-treated patients also use blood thinners. These drugs may favorize this side effect.

Heart – abnormal heart rhythm is linked with an increased risk of stroke and death. This may occur in up to 32% of patients on ibrutinib. This may be treated with a lower dose or stopping ibrutinib therapy. Other patients may be given blood-thinning medication to reduce the risk of clots.

High blood pressure has been reported in up to 25% of patients. Patients need to monitor their blood pressure. Their doctor should give medication if needed.

Infection – cough and lung infections are common. Fungal infections such as aspergillosis may also occur. Fever and signs of infection may be treated with specific antibiotics.

The bottom line

This study summarised the side effects of ibrutinib and how to manage them. 

What’s next?

Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about side effects of ibrutinib treatment.

Published By :

Critical reviews in oncology/hematology

Date :

Apr 01, 2019

Original Title :

Management of adverse effects/toxicity of ibrutinib.

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