What are the potential side effects of chemotherapy drugs?

The specific side effects you may experience will depend on the type and amount of medications you are given and how long you are taking them. The most common temporary side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Higher risk of infection (due to decreased white blood cells)
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Premature menopause (not having any more menstrual periods) and infertility (not being able to become pregnant) are potential permanent complications of chemotherapy.
  • Heart damage can be a permanent complication of some chemotherapy.

Please contact your health care provider about specific side effects you can expect to experience from your specific chemotherapy medications. Also discuss troubling or unmanageable side effects with your provider.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy