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Increased liver enzymes, leukopenia, and nausea and vomiting are some of the most common side effects reported by people using Gemzar. Problems that occur less frequently, but are more serious, can include blood in the stool, difficulty breathing, or signs of an allergic reaction. You should notify your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any of these serious side effects.

An Introduction to Gemzar Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Gemzar® (gemcitabine). However, not everyone who takes the medication will experience side effects. In fact, some people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in some cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Gemzar. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Gemzar side effects with you.)

Common Side Effects of Gemzar

Gemzar has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occur in a group of people taking the drug are documented and are then compared to side effects that occur in another group of people not taking the medicine. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
In these studies, some of the most common side effects of Gemzar included:
  • Increased liver enzymes (which can be a sign of liver damage) -- in up to 72 percent of people
  • Leukopenia (low levels of certain white blood cells called leukocytes) -- up to 71 percent
  • Nausea and vomiting -- up to 69 percent of people (see Chemotherapy and Nausea)
  • Anemia -- up to 68 percent (see Chemotherapy and Anemia)
  • Neutropenia (low levels of certain white blood cells called neutrophils) -- up to 63 percent
  • Pain -- up to 48 percent (see Chemotherapy-Related Pain)
  • Low platelets in the blood -- up to 47 percent (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy).
Some other common Gemzar side effects, occurring in 2 percent to 41 percent of people, included:
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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