Skip to main content

Chlorambucil Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Jun 21, 2023.

Applies to chlorambucil: oral tablet.


Oral route (Tablet)

Chlorambucil can severely suppress bone marrow function. It is a carcinogen in humans, and is probably mutagenic and teratogenic. Chlorambucil produces human infertility.

Serious side effects of Chlorambucil

Along with its needed effects, chlorambucil 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 immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking chlorambucil:

More common

Less common


Incidence not known

Other side effects of Chlorambucil

Some side effects of chlorambucil 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


Incidence not known

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to chlorambucil: compounding powder, oral tablet.


Very common (10% or more): Leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia, bone marrow suppression

Common (1% to 10%): Anemia

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Irreversible bone marrow failure[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Convulsions in children with nephrotic syndrome

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Convulsions, partial and/or generalized in children and adults, ataxia, flaccid paresis

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Movement disorders (e.g., tremor, muscle twitching, myoclonus in the absence of convulsions, peripheral neuropathy[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Rash

Rare (less than 0.1%): Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis

Frequency not reported: Urticaria, angioneurotic edema, skin hypersensitivity (including rare reports of skin rash progressing to erythema multiforme)[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth ulceration[Ref]


Very rare (less than 0.01%): Interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial pneumonia[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Hepatotoxicity, jaundice[Ref]


Very rare (less than 0.01%): Sterile cystitis

Frequency not reported: Amenorrhea, azoospermia, infertility[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Acute secondary hematologic malignancies (especially leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome), particularly after long term therapy[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Confusion, agitation, hallucinations[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Tremors, muscular twitching, myoclonia


Rare (less than 0.1%): Pyrexia


1. Rudd P, Fries JF, Epstein WV. Irreversible bone marrow failure with chlorambucil. J Rheumatol. 1975;2:421-9.

2. Product Information. Leukeran Tablets (chlorambucil). Glaxo Welcome, Research Triangle Pk, NC.

3. Williams SA, Makker SP, Grupe WE. Seizures: a significant side effect of chlorambucil therapy in children. J Pediatr. 1978;93:516-8.

4. Crestani B, Jaccard A, Israel-Biet D, Couderc LJ, Frija J, Clauvel JP. Chlorambucil-associated pneumonitis. Chest. 1994;105:634-6.

5. Giles FJ, Smith MP, Goldstone AH. Chlorambucil lung toxicity. Acta Haematol. 1990;83:156-8.

6. Patel SP, Nast CC, Adler SG. Chlorambucil-induced acute hepatic failure in a patient with membranous nephropathy. Am J Kidney Dis. 2000;36:401-4.

7. Palmer RG, Denman AM. Malignancies induced by chlorambucil. Cancer Treat Rev. 1984;11:121-9.

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.