Side Effects of Ibrance

Introduction: Side Effects of Ibrance. Ibrance (palbociclib) is a medication commonly prescribed for the treatment of certain types of breast cancer, specifically hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women or men.

This medication is typically used with other drugs like letrozole or fulvestrant. While Ibrance can effectively manage cancer, like any medication, it can cause side effects. 

In this article, I will provide an in-depth overview of the side effects associated with Ibrance.

Side Effects of Ibrance
Side Effects of Ibrance 2

Common Side Effects of Ibrance

It’s important to note that the severity and prevalence of side effects can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience the same side effects. Some individuals may experience only mild or no side effects, while others may encounter more significant or severe symptoms.

Additionally, Ibrance is a prescription medication, and its use should be strictly under the guidance of a healthcare professional who can assess the potential benefits and risks for each patient’s situation.

Ibrance is a targeted therapy that interferes with specific molecules involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. The primary target of Ibrance is a group of proteins called cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs).

By inhibiting these proteins, Ibrance slows down the division and growth of cancer cells. While this targeted approach can be practical, it can also impact normal cells and tissues, leading to side effects.

Neutropenia: One of the most common and potentially severe side effects of Ibrance is a decrease in white blood cells called neutrophils. Neutrophils are essential for fighting off infections. Neutropenia can increase the risk of diseases, leading to symptoms like fever, chills, and a sore throat.

Fatigue: Many people taking Ibrance report feeling tired or fatigued. This can be due to the medication itself or the cancer.

Nausea: Nausea is a common side effect of Ibrance. It’s often mild but can be bothersome for some individuals.

Hair Loss: While not as severe as the hair loss associated with some chemotherapy drugs, hair thinning is a possible side effect of Ibrance.

Loss of Appetite: Some people may experience a reduced appetite while taking Ibrance.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea is a possible gastrointestinal side effect of Ibrance.

Headache: Headaches, including tension headaches and migraines, can occur in some individuals.

Weakness: Weakness or muscle aches can be experienced as a side effect.

Stomatitis: Stomatitis is inflammation of the mucous lining in the mouth and can result in mouth sores or ulcers.

Pain in Joints and Muscles: Musculoskeletal pain, including joint and muscle pain, can occur.

Infections: Besides the risk of neutropenia, other conditions, such as respiratory and urinary tract infections, can happen.

Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Gastrointestinal side effects may include constipation, abdominal pain, and indigestion.

Changes in Liver Enzymes: Ibrance can affect liver function and lead to elevated liver enzyme levels, which may require monitoring.

Less Common Side Effects

Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medicine unless your doctor or pharmacist says it is safe for you to do so. Grapefruit may raise the chance of side effects from this medicine. 

Use this medication regularly to get maximum benefit from it. To help you remember, take your medicine simultaneously on the days you are supposed to take it.

Do not raise your dose or use this medicine more often or longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve as quickly, and your risk of severe side effects will increase.

While the previously mentioned side effects are more common, there are less common but more severe side effects that individuals should be aware of. These include:

Cardiovascular Issues: Some individuals may experience an increased risk of heart-related problems, such as arrhythmias and changes in blood pressure.

Pulmonary Embolism: A rare but severe side effect is the development of blood clots in the lungs, known as pulmonary embolism.

Interactions with Other Medications: Ibrance can interact with other drugs, so healthcare providers must be aware of a patient’s complete medication list to avoid potentially harmful interactions.

Tumor Lysis Syndrome: In rare cases, Ibrance can cause tumor lysis syndrome, a condition in which cancer cells break down rapidly, releasing toxins into the bloodstream. This can lead to metabolic imbalances and organ damage.

Liver Problems: Hepatotoxicity, or liver damage, has been reported in some patients taking Ibrance.

Low Blood Cell Counts: In addition to neutropenia, Ibrance can cause soft red blood cell and platelet counts, resulting in anemia and increased bleeding risk.

Eye Disorders: Rarely, Ibrance has been associated with vision problems, including changes in vision or dry eyes.

It’s significant to emphasize that while these side effects are possible, not everyone will experience them. Many people tolerate Ibrance well and can continue treatment with minimal disruption to their daily lives.

Additionally, the severity of side effects can often be managed with supportive care and adjustments to the treatment plan, if necessary.

Patients are typically monitored closely by their healthcare team while taking Ibrance. Regular blood tests and check-ups are standard to assess blood cell counts and any potential changes in liver function.

If significant side effects occur, a healthcare provider may adjust the dose, provide supportive medications, or consider alternative treatment options.

Warnings for Ibrance

Ibrance may not be suitable for you if you have particular medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk to your doctor about your medical history before taking Ibrance. Listed below are factors to consider.

Current infection. If you have an existing disease, tell your doctor before taking Ibrance. This medicine can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight infections after you start treatment with Ibrance. If you have an existing condition, your doctor will likely treat it before you begin taking Ibrance.

Allergic reaction. You should not take Ibrance if you have had an allergic reaction to Ibrance or any of its ingredients. Ask your physician what other medications are better options for you.

Liver problems. If you have liver issues, tell your doctor before taking Ibrance. This medicine may raise your risk of liver damage. If you already have a liver disease, Ibrance may make it more harmful. Talk to your doctor to see if Ibrance is a safe treatment option.

Lung problems. Ibrance can cause inflammation or scarring in your lungs. If you have a lung condition, talk to your doctor before starting Ibrance treatment. This medicine can make your lungs worse. Your doctor may want to monitor you more closely during your treatment or may prescribe a different treatment for you.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Ibrance

You should not take Ibrance if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This medicine can harm the fetus.

Because of this risk, if you are pregnant, your doctor will do a pregnancy test before taking Ibrance. You will also need birth control during your treatment and at least three weeks after your last dose of Ibrance.

If you are sexually active with a partner who could become pregnant, you should use birth control while taking Ibrance and for at least three months after stopping treatment.

It is not known if Ibrance is safe to take while breastfeeding. Studies have not looked at whether this drug passes into breast milk or how it might affect a nursing baby.

But, because of the risk of harm to the fetus, using Ibrance during breastfeeding is not recommended. You should not breastfeed for at least three weeks after taking the last dose of Ibrance.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking Ibrance.

Do not raise your dose or use this medicine more often or longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve as quickly, and your risk of severe side effects will increase.

What to ask your doctor

You may encounter side effects during your Ibrance treatment. Most side effects are mild, but severe ones may occur in rare cases.

Before taking Ibrance, you should talk to your doctor about the risk of side effects and any other questions. Instances of questions you may want to ask include:

  • Am I at higher risk of side effects from other medications?
  • How should I manage the side effects I experience with Ibrance?
  • What should I do if I get pregnant while taking Ibrance?


In conclusion, Ibrance is a targeted therapy that can be highly effective in treating hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer. However, like any medication, it can cause standard and less common side effects.

Patients must communicate openly and regularly with their healthcare team to manage these side effects effectively. The decision to use Ibrance should be made individually, considering the potential benefits and risks, and should always be under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

This medicine comes in capsules or tablets. Capsules should be taken with food, while tablets can be taken with or without food. Swallow the medicine whole. Do not crush, chew, or open capsules or split tablets.

Do not take capsules or tablets that are broken or damaged. If you vomit after taking the medicine, do not take another dose that day. Take the following amount as usual the next day.

Also read: Side effect of Dupixent; Side Effects of Olumiant; Xifanan side effects

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