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Cladribine Side Effects

Common Side Effects

Cladribine has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people given cladribine were carefully documented. As a result, it was possible to see what side effects occurred and how often they appeared.
In clinical studies, the most common cladribine side effects included:
  • Low white blood cell counts, which could increase the risk for infections (see Chemotherapy and Infections) -- in up to 70 percent of people
  • Fever -- up to 60 percent
  • Anemia (low red blood cells) -- up to 37 percent (see Chemotherapy and Anemia)
  • Fatigue -- up to 31 percent
  • Infections, including bacterial, viral, and fungal infections -- up to 28 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 22 percent
  • Skin rash -- up to 16 percent
  • Headache -- up to 14 percent
  • A decrease in platelets, which could increase the risk for bleeding (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy) -- up to 12 percent
  • Reactions at the injection site, including redness, bleeding, swelling, and pain -- up to 11 percent.
Other common side effects, occurring in 1 percent to 9 percent of people, included:
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle pain
  • General pain
  • Loss of strength and energy
  • General feelings of illness or discomfort
  • Abnormal breathing, including shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Joint pain
  • Chills
  • Swelling in the arms, hands, legs, ankles, or feet
  • Itching
  • Small purple or red spots on the skin
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Anxiety
  • Bruising
  • Gassiness.
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