Leukemia Home > Leustatin Side Effects

During extensive clinical studies on Leustatin, some of the side effects that occurred most often included headaches, fatigue, and nausea. These studies showed that most people who use this chemotherapy drug are likely to experience some type of reaction. Some problems may be serious and require immediate medical attention, including fever, unusual bleeding, and muscle weakness.

An Introduction to Leustatin Side Effects

As with any chemotherapy medicine, Leustatin® (cladribine) 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 Leustatin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects With Leustatin

Leustatin has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people given Leustatin 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 Leustatin 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.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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