Cancer Home > Fludarabine Side Effects

Some of the possible side effects of fludarabine can include coughing, nausea, and loss of appetite. This prescription chemotherapy drug can also cause significant problems, such as dangerous infections, bleeding problems, and anemia, which require medical treatment right away. Because side effects are common with this drug, let your healthcare provider know if you experience anything that doesn't seem right during fludarabine treatment.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Fludarabine

As with any chemotherapy medicine, fludarabine phosphate (Fludara®) can cause side effects. In fact, most people will experience some type of reaction to this drug, and some side effects can be quite significant. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to prevent or lessen reactions to this medicine.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with fludarabine. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Serious Fludarabine Side Effects

Some side effects of fludarabine are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling, especially of the mouth, lips, or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Signs of infection, such as:
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy)
  • Blood in your urine
  • Dark urine
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • Vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Pain on one or both sides of the back, below the ribcage (flank pain)
  • Numbness, burning, tingling, or pricking sensations of the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Loss of hearing
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Loss of coordination
  • Changes in how often or how much you urinate
  • Dry mouth or lips or feeling thirsty, which could indicate you are dehydrated
  • Mouth or throat sores, ulcers, or blisters
  • Swelling of the arms, hands, legs, ankles, or feet
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Vision or speech changes
  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • A severe headache
  • Swelling, tenderness, redness or warmth in one or both legs
  • Irritation, blistering, or flaking of the skin
  • Pain, redness, or swelling at your injection site.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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