Cancer Home > Alemtuzumab Side Effects

Commonly reported side effects of alemtuzumab include low blood cell counts, fever, and chills. Reactions to this drug, while expected, are usually mild and easy to treat. However, some side effects are potentially serious -- even life-threatening -- and should be reported to your healthcare provider. These include infusion reactions, unusual bruising, and vomiting blood.

An Introduction to Alemtuzumab Side Effects

Just like any medicine, alemtuzumab (Campath®) can cause side effects, some of which can be quite significant. Although not everyone who takes the medication will have problems, most people will experience some type of adverse reaction during treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can manage some of these side effects.
 
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with alemtuzumab. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)
 

Serious Side Effects of Alemtuzumab

Some alemtuzumab side effects are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
 
  • Signs of an allergic or infusion reaction (a reaction that happens while receiving or soon after your dose), such as:
     
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • A fast heartbeat
    • Unexplained swelling, especially of the mouth, lips, or throat
    • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
    • Difficulty swallowing
 
  • Signs of infection, such as:
     
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Aches and pains
    • Swollen glands
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
 
  • Signs of anemia, such as:
     
    • Unusual tiredness
    • Weakness
    • Pale skin
    • Shortness of breath
 
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Small reddish or purple blood spots on your skin
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Blood in the urine
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Sores or ulcers in or around the mouth
  • A pounding or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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