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Trisenox Side Effects

Generic Name: arsenic trioxide

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug arsenic trioxide. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Trisenox.

In Summary

Common side effects of Trisenox include: pleural effusion, dyspnea, fever, leukocytosis, palpitations, prolonged qt interval on ecg, tachycardia, and weight gain. Other side effects include: cardiac arrhythmia. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to arsenic trioxide: intravenous solution

As well as its needed effects, arsenic trioxide (the active ingredient contained in Trisenox) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking arsenic trioxide, check with your doctor or nurse immediately:

More common:
  • Chills
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • cough
  • decreased urine output
  • dry mouth
  • eye pain
  • general feeling of illness
  • headache
  • increased thirst
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of appetite
  • mood changes
  • muscle pain or cramps
  • nausea or vomiting
  • numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or lips
  • sore throat
  • trouble breathing
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Less common:
  • Abdominal or stomach cramps
  • black, tarry stools
  • bluish lips or skin
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • fever
  • flushed, dry skin
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • increased hunger
  • increased urine output
  • irregular or pounding heartbeat or pulse
  • painful or difficult urination
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • stomachache
  • sweating
  • swollen glands
  • unexplained weight loss
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • behavior changes similar to drunkenness
  • bleeding
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • bluish fingernails, palms, or nailbeds
  • bruising
  • cloudy urine
  • cold sweats
  • cool pale skin
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • large hives or rash
  • persistent bleeding or oozing from puncture sites, mouth, or nose
  • severe nausea
  • shakiness
  • sore mouth or tongue
  • swelling of the eyelids, lips, or face
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • white patches in the mouth or on the tongue

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking arsenic trioxide, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Confusion
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • muscle weakness, severe

Minor Side Effects

Some arsenic trioxide side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

More common:
  • Diarrhea
Less common:
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • back pain
  • belching
  • bloating or swelling of the face, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • bone pain
  • constipation
  • flushing
  • heartburn
  • heavy non-menstrual vaginal bleeding
  • indigestion
  • injection site pain, redness, or swelling
  • itching
  • itchy, red skin
  • joint or muscle pain
  • limb pain
  • loss of appetite
  • mental depression
  • neck pain
  • nosebleeds
  • pale skin
  • shivering chills
  • trouble sleeping or getting to sleep
  • weight gain
  • Agitation
  • blisters inside the mouth
  • coughing or spitting up blood
  • earache
  • eye dryness, redness, or pain
  • loss of bowel or bladder control
  • night sweats
  • rapid, shallow breathing
  • ringing in the ears
  • small red or purple spots on skin
  • swelling of the abdominal or stomach area
  • swelling or puffiness of the face or eyelids
  • swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to arsenic trioxide: compounding powder, intravenous solution


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (75%), upper and lower abdominal pain (58%), vomiting (58%), diarrhea (53%), constipation (28%), loose stools (10%), dyspepsia (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Oral blistering, fecal incontinence, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, dry mouth, abdominal tenderness, hemorrhagic diarrhea, abdominal distension, oral candidiasis
Frequency not reported: Dysphagia, mucosal inflammation/stomatitis, oropharyngeal pain, cecitis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Cough (65%), dyspnea (53%), sore throat (35%), APL differentiation syndrome (26.9%), epistaxis (25%), hypoxia (23%), pleural effusion (20%), sinusitis (20%), post nasal drip (13%), upper respiratory tract infection (13%), wheezing (13%), decreased breath sounds (10%), crepitations (10%), rales (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Hemoptysis, tachypnea, rhonchi, nasopharyngitis, pleuritic pain, pulmonary alveolar hemorrhage
Frequency not reported: Acute respiratory distress syndrome, lung infiltration, pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, respiratory distress, capillary leak syndrome, pneumonia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Fatigue (63%), pyrexia (63%), non-specific edema (40%), rigors (38%), chest pain (25%), non-specific pain (15%), herpes simplex (13%), vaginal hemorrhage (13%), weakness (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Non-specific bacterial infection, herpes zoster, intermenstrual bleeding, sepsis, earache, tinnitus, chills
Frequency not reported: Death[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (60%), neuropathy (44%), paresthesia (33%), dizziness (23%), tremor (13%)
Common (1% to 10%): Convulsion, somnolence, coma, peripheral neuropathy, seizures
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cerebrovascular accident
Frequency not reported: Neuralgia, cerebral hemorrhage[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Tachycardia (55%), QT prolongation (40%), hypotension (25%), flushing (10%), hypertension (10%), pallor (10%), palpitations (10%), premature ventricular contractions (at least 10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Torsade de pointes, abnormal ECG, ventricular extrasystoles and ventricular tachycardia (both in association with QT prolongation), pericardial effusion, vasculitis
Frequency not reported: Complete heart block, cardiac failure[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Hypokalemia (50%), hypomagnesemia (45%), hyperglycemia (45%), anorexia (23%), hyperkalemia (18%), decreased appetite (15%), weight gain (13%), hypocalcemia (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Weight loss, hypoglycemia, acidosis, hypernatremia, ketoacidosis, hypermagnesemia, increased blood creatinine
Frequency not reported: Hyponatremia, hypoalbuminemia, hypophosphatemia, increased lipase, dehydration, fluid retention[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Leukocytosis (50%), anemia (20%), thrombocytopenia (18%), febrile neutropenia (13%), neutropenia (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Disseminated intravascular coagulation, lymphadenopathy, hemorrhage, thrombosis, pancytopenia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Leucopenia vasculitis
Frequency not reported: Hyperleukocytosis, lymphopenia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Tachycardia (55%), QT prolongation (40%), hypotension (25%), flushing (10%), hypertension (10%), pallor (10%), palpitations (10%), premature ventricular contractions (at least 10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Torsade de pointes, abnormal ECG, ventricular extrasystoles and ventricular tachycardia (both in association with QT prolongation), pericardial effusion, vasculitis
Frequency not reported: Complete heart block, cardiac failure[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Insomnia (43%), anxiety (30%), depression (20%)
Common (1% to 10%): Agitation, confusion, mood alteration[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Arthralgia (33%), myalgia (25%), bone pain (23%), back pain (18%), limb pain (13%), neck pain (13%)
Common (1% to 10%): Musculoskeletal pain[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Increased ALT (20%), increased AST (13%), hepatotoxicity (at least 10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Increased gamma-glutamyltransferase, liver dysfunction, hyperbilirubinemia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Injection site pain (20%), injection site erythema (13%), injection site edema (10%)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Eye irritation (10%), blurred vision (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Dry eye, painful red eye[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Drug hypersensitivity[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Renal failure, renal impairment, oliguria, incontinence
Frequency not reported: Enuresis[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

3. "Product Information. Trisenox (arsenic trioxide)" Cephalon Inc, West Chester, PA.

It is possible that some side effects of Trisenox may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.