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When you have chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), it’s important to work with your doctor to find a medication that may be the right fit for you. While many people do well on medications called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), some people struggle with intolerable side effects that get in the way of daily life.

Don’t keep side effects to yourself

Some people try to tough out the side effects of their CML medication. If side effects are affecting your job or social activities, it’s important to speak up and let your doctor know. You may find it helpful to download this Doctor Discussion Guide.

Common side effects of CML medications

Below is a list of some of the common side effects of different CML medications that you should discuss with your doctor.

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Bone, muscle, and joint pain
  • Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
  • Fluid retention/swelling/weight gain
  • Fatigue that disrupts daily activities
  • Unusual bleeding/bruising
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rash/itching
  • Headache
  • Brain fog/confusion

Of course, there are other side effects of CML medications, and each medication has its own unique side effects, so be sure to tell your doctor about any side effects you experience.

Your doctor can help you manage side effects

Even if you’re dealing with side effects, it’s important to keep taking your CML medication as prescribed. While you may find suggestions for dealing with side effects from various sources, speak to your doctor and do not try to manage side effects on your own. Your doctor may have some suggestions, which may include:

  • Recommending other medications to help you manage side effects
  • Adjusting the dose of your current CML medication
  • Discussing different treatment options for CML

The key to managing side effects is making your doctor aware of them and explaining how they are affecting your daily life. So speak up about side effects instead of just putting up with them.

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