Cancer Home > Fludarabine Side Effects

Common Side Effects

Fludarabine has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people given fludarabine 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 fludarabine side effects included:
  • Fever -- in up to 69 percent of people
  • Weakness -- up to 65 percent
  • Infections -- up to 44 percent (see Chemotherapy and Infections)
  • Cough -- up to 44 percent
  • Fatigue -- up to 38 percent
  • Nausea and vomiting -- up to 36 percent
  • Loss of appetite -- up to 34 percent
  • Shortness of breath -- up to 22 percent
  • Pneumonia -- up to 22 percent
  • Pain -- up to 22 percent
  • Chills -- up to 19 percent
  • Swelling due to fluid retention (edema) -- up to 19 percent.
Other common side effects, occurring in 3 percent to 16 percent of people, included:
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Problems with vision
  • Rash
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs, such as a bladder infection)
  • Sweating
  • Bleeding in the stomach or intestines
  • Numbness, pricking, or tingling sensations, especially in the hands or feet
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling, sores, or ulcers in the mouth or throat
  • General feelings of discomfort
  • Hearing loss
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sinus infection
  • Painful urination
  • Hair loss
  • Sleep problems
  • Headache
  • Gallstones
  • Constipation
  • Inflammation or irritation of the esophagus, which could cause hoarseness, cough, sore throat, or pain when swallowing
  • Itching
  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty in passing urine
  • Heart failure
  • An abnormal heartbeat
  • Blood clots.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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