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Among the most common side effects of cetuximab are fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, and skin reactions. If problems occur, they are usually mild and easily treated; however, potentially serious reactions to this drug are also possible. For example, if you experience changes in the shape, size, or color of moles; sudden diarrhea; or difficulty urinating, contact your healthcare provider right away.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Cetuximab

Just like any medicine, cetuximab (Erbitux®) can cause side effects. Not everyone who uses the medication will have problems. However, most people will experience some type of adverse reaction during treatment. If problems do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with cetuximab. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Serious Cetuximab Side Effects

Some side effects of cetuximab are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction or an infusion reaction (a reaction that happens while receiving or soon after your dose), such as:
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Skin rash, redness, or swelling
    • Low blood pressure (hypotension), which could cause dizziness or fainting
    • Swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, lips, or throat
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Wheezing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Shaking
    • Sweating
  • Signs of infection, such as:
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Body aches
    • Cough
    • Painful urination
    • Severe diarrhea
  • Chest pain or pressure, cold sweats, or dizziness
  • Any skin problems, including:
    • Rash
    • Peeling
    • Severe dry skin
    • Redness
    • Swelling
  • Sores, blisters, pain, or swelling in the mouth
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Changes in mood or behavior, such as a low mood, depression, or anxiety
  • Any skin changes, such as:
    • Discoloration
    • Sores
    • Lumps
    • Changes in the color, shape, or size of moles.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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