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Amifostine Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 17, 2022.


Commonly reported side effects of amifostine include: nausea. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to amifostine: intravenous powder for solution

Side effects requiring immediate medical attention

Along with its needed effects, amifostine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking amifostine:

More common

  • Blurred vision
  • confusion
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when suddenly getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • fainting or loss of consciousness
  • fast or irregular breathing
  • itching
  • nausea, vomiting
  • red, scaly, swollen, or peeling areas of the skin
  • skin rash
  • sweating
  • swelling of the eyes or eyelids
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble with breathing
  • unusual tiredness or weakness


  • Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • burning or tingling sensation
  • chills
  • cough
  • cracks in the skin
  • diarrhea
  • fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • fever
  • joint or muscle pain
  • loss of bladder control
  • loss of heat from the body
  • muscle cramps in the hands, arms, feet, legs, or face
  • muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  • no blood pressure or pulse
  • numbness and tingling around the mouth, fingertips, or feet
  • red, irritated eyes
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • seizures
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • stomach cramps
  • stopping of the heart
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • tremor

Incidence not known

  • Bloody urine
  • decreased frequency or amount of urine
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • hives or welts
  • hoarseness
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased thirst
  • lower back or side pain
  • loss of appetite
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • slow or irregular breathing
  • swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
  • weight gain

Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention

Some side effects of amifostine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common or rare

  • Feeling unusually warm or cold
  • flushing or redness of the face or neck
  • headache
  • hiccups
  • nervousness
  • pounding in the ears
  • sleepiness (severe)
  • sneezing

Incidence not known

  • Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to amifostine: intravenous powder for injection


Very common (10% or more): Hypotension (62%)

Rare (less than 0.1%): Chest pain, myocardial ischemia, myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest, exacerbation of preexisting hypertension, tachycardia, bradycardia

Frequency not reported: Flushing/feeling of warmth, arrhythmias (e.g., atrial fibrillation/flutter, supraventricular tachycardia) sometimes associated with hypotension or hypersensitivity[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (96%), vomiting

Frequency not reported: Hiccups, diarrhea[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Chills/feeling of coldness, malaise, pyrexia, somnolence, rigors[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Severe hypersensitivity[Ref]


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Erythema multiforme, drug reaction with eosinophilia and systematic symptoms (DRESS), Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN)

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Toxicoderma, bullous dermatitis, exfoliative dermatitis

Frequency not reported: Rash/erythema, pruritus, urticaria, inflammation, cutaneous eruptions[Ref]

Nervous system

Rare (less than 0.1%): Seizures, syncope

Frequency not reported: Dizziness[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypocalcemia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Injection site pain, injection site bruising, injection site

Swelling, phlebitis[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Diplopia, blurred vision[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Dyspnea, apnea, hypoxia, respiratory arrest, laryngeal edema

Frequency not reported: Sneezing, cough[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Renal failure[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Ethyol (amifostine)." Alza (2001):

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.