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Zolinza Side Effects

Generic name: vorinostat

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 26, 2022.

Note: This document contains side effect information about vorinostat. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Zolinza.


Common side effects of Zolinza include: anemia, diarrhea, nausea, thrombocytopenia, and vomiting. Other side effects include: pulmonary embolism. Continue reading for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

Applies to vorinostat: oral capsule.

Serious side effects of Zolinza

Along with its needed effects, vorinostat (the active ingredient contained in Zolinza) 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 vorinostat:

More common

  • Anxiety
  • black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • body aches or pain
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • confusion
  • cough
  • decreased urine
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • dry mouth
  • ear congestion
  • fainting
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • fever
  • headache
  • increased thirst
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or genitals
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of voice
  • lower back or side pain
  • mood changes
  • muscle pain or cramps
  • nasal congestion
  • nausea
  • no blood pressure
  • no breathing
  • no pulse
  • numbness or tingling in the face, lips, arms, hands, feet, or legs
  • pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • rapid weight gain
  • runny nose
  • seizures
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • swollen glands
  • trouble speaking, thinking, or walking
  • troubled breathing
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
  • vomiting

Less common

  • Persistent non-healing sore
  • pink growth
  • reddish patch or irritated area
  • shiny bump
  • white, yellow, or waxy scar-like area


  • Chest discomfort
  • general feeling of illness
  • hoarseness
  • indigestion
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • rapid, shallow breathing
  • severe nausea or vomiting
  • sneezing
  • stomach pain
  • sweating
  • tightness in the chest
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • yellow skin and eyes

Other side effects of Zolinza

Some side effects of vorinostat 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:

More common

  • Change in taste
  • cracks in the skin
  • difficulty having a bowel movement
  • hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • itching skin
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss of heat from the body
  • loss of taste
  • muscle spasm
  • red, swollen skin
  • scaly skin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to vorinostat: oral capsule.


Very common (10% or more): Diarrhea (45%), nausea (37%), dry mouth (16%), vomiting (12%), constipation (11%)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Thrombocytopenia (26%), anemia (13%)

Frequency not reported: Thromboembolism, deep vein thrombosis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Alopecia (16%), pruritus (12%)[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Dysgeusia (23%), chills (11%), headache (10%)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Cough (11%), upper respiratory infection (11%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pulmonary embolism[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Fatigue (45%), pyrexia (11%)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (23%), weight loss (20%), muscle spasms (15%), blood creatinine increased (12%), peripheral edema (13%)

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


1. "Product Information. Zolinza (vorinostat)." Merck & Company Inc (2006):

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.