Therapy for myelofibrosis (MF) can sometimes produce side effects. For most patients, treatment side effects are temporary and go away once therapy ends. For other patients, side effects can be more severe, sometimes requiring hospitalization. Some patients never have side effects.
Before you undergo treatment, talk with your doctor about potential side effects. Drugs and other therapies can prevent or manage many side effects.
Drug Therapy Side Effects
Side effects of ruxolitinib (JakafiTM) include
- thrombocytopenia (a decrease below the normal number of platelets)
Side effects of anagrelide (Agrylin®) include
Side effects of interferon alfa (Intron® A, Roferan-A®) include
Side effects of androgens include
- liver complications
- in women, the development of masculine features such as facial hair
Chemotherapy Side Effects
Chemotherapy drugs are the main culprits when it comes to causing unwanted side effects. These drugs can kill cancer cells, but they damage normal cells, too. The lining of the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines are particularly vulnerable to damage.
The side effects you may experience depend on:
- the intensity of chemotherapy
- the drugs used during therapy
- your overall health and whether you have any chronic health conditions like diabetes or kidney disease
Side effects common to chemotherapy include:
- low blood cell counts
- mouth sores
- nausea and vomiting
- extreme fatigue
- hair loss
- tingling sensations
- lung, heart, kidney or nerve problems
- graft versus host disease (if you've undergone an allogeneic stem cell transplant)
Other drugs used to treat myelofibrosis include thalidomide (Thalomid(R)), lenalidomide (Revlimid(R)), Epogen(R), Procrit(R), glucocorticoids, pamidronate disodium (Aredia(R)) and zoledronic acid (Zometa(R)). For side effects information, please see the free LLS publication Understanding Drug Therapy and Managing Side Effects and the FDA drug information webpage.
More to Explore
- Tips to manage and prevent side effects
- Well-being during treatment
- Download questions to ask your doctor about side effects
- Download questions to ask your doctor about pain management
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's free booklet Understanding Drug Therapy and Managing Side Effects