Side Effects of CML Treatment

Side effects are common among people being treated for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). It is important to work with your doctor to keep them to a manageable level while meeting treatment goals. Certain side effects happen when you first start treatment and sometimes they may ease as the body gets used to a particular medication. Some side effects may persist, and even get worse over time. Side effects can also happen at any time, even if you have been taking the treatment for a while.

Your oncologist will be watching for any signs that your side effects are having too much of an impact on your daily life and are becoming unbearable, or that the side effects are themselves a medical problem.

What are the common side effects to look for?

Here are some of the side effects that have been reported with CML treatments—you could experience others. Your doctor may also test for possible side effects that you can't feel.

  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Fluid build-up
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain/cramps
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Rash
  • Swelling (edema)
  • Weight gain

You're one of a kind. And so is your response to treatment

If you do experience side effects, be sure to track and report them right away. Your doctor can perform different tests to see whether your treatment is working, but when it comes to side effects, there's no substitute for your own experience.

Use our CML Treatment Companion™ to track your side effects, day by day. It can help you keep all this information in one place and, using the printouts and discussion guides, help you have a good conversation with your oncologist. The CML Treatment Companion allows you to record details on your side effects, their severity and frequency, as well as any changes you may notice.

Always report any side effects to your doctor as soon as possible

Be sure to tell your oncologist about all health-related problems. Don't hesitate to report any possible side effects, even if you don't think they are related to your CML or your treatment. Even if they seem minor to you. There are side effects that may call for medical attention.

Your doctor will also be able to suggest ways to try and manage any side effects you're having a tough time with. From altering your dose to taking you off your medication for a while—maybe even prescribing a change of treatment.

Keep the lines of communication open

Feel free to talk with your doctor about any concerns over your treatment—and never change your dose or stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor. You and your doctor have a partnership. To make it as productive as possible, your doctor needs to hear what's on your mind so you can discuss your treatment—and explore your treatment options—honestly together.

This Web site is not meant to replace a discussion with your doctor, who is your most important source for information.

All individuals depicted in this Web site are models being used for illustrative purposes only. MyCMLCare, "Get the strength that comes from knowledge", CML Treatment Companion, and CML Currents are registered trademarks of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.