What to Expect After Targeted Therapy for CLL
The main side effects of monoclonal antibody therapy are fever and chills during the treatment. The fever may be high but usually goes down or away when the infusion is slowed or stopped. Some people may have rashes as well. In rare cases, people may have more serious problems, including trouble breathing and low blood pressure. These problems are most common during the first time a person gets the drug.
You may also get an infection more easily because the antibodies damage your immune system cells. This problem can sometimes be serious with alemtuzumab (Campath), which can cause very low white blood cell counts. You may get a special treatment ahead of time to reduce the impact of these side effects.
Less common but potentially serious side effects can include blockage in the intestines, low blood platelet counts (with increased risk of bleeding), and reactivation of viral hepatitis.