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Recovery Time for CLL Treatment Side Effects

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Published on March 4, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Many side effects associated with newer CLL agents are reversible, and most patients recover quickly after stopping treatment.
  • Once the side effects have cleared, patients can usually be re-started on the same drug, especially at a lower dose.
  • Managing side effects is critical when treating CLL—to receive the highest standard of care, consult a CLL specialist for help.

“Most of these newer drugs last for a very short amount of time in your body,” says chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) expert Dr. Farrukh Awan, explaining why CLL patients tend to recover quickly from the side effects of newer therapies. Dr. Awan, from UT Southwestern Medical Center, also discusses the importance of consulting a CLL specialist who knows when and how to effectively manage side effects rather than abruptly stopping a treatment that may otherwise be working. Watch now to learn from a CLL expert.

This program is sponsored by AbbVie Inc., Genentech, Inc. and Adaptive Biotechnologies. These organizations have no editorial control. It is produced by Patient Power, and Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.

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Transcript | Recovery Time for CLL Treatment Side Effects

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Carol Preston:                          

Will side effects go away only if we stop treatment? 

Dr. Awan:                   

I think we’re very fortunate that a lot of the side effects that are associated with some of these newer agents are reversible. And if you stop the drug, you can actually overcome those issues fairly quickly, because most of these newer drugs last for a very short amount of time in your body. 

So, you clear them very quickly, most people recover their side effects, and they can be actually restarted on the drug a lot of times. They can start on a lower dose, so there’s a lot of wiggle room with these newer therapies. 

And one of the things that I think it’s happening in the field right now is that we are beginning to develop newer treatments that might potentially have lesser side effects as we’re learning more and more about the mechanism.

And I think that’s very exciting for us. There are, unfortunately, some side effects that might linger beyond stopping the drug. So, I think those are, again, considerations; this is exactly why you need to work closely with a doctor who’s experienced in managing these issues. 

With the first sign of a side effect, you don’t want to stop the pill, because the pill could be fine for years beyond that if you manage the side effect properly. I think that is the key, that is what—where the expertise and the experience comes in; that you do this over and over and over again, so you don’t panic at the first sign of trouble, which can happen with anything.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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