Side effects of the TKIs

Most of the side effects with TKIs are common to all of them. However, some TKIs have more specific side effects depending on their mechanism of action.

Side effects common to all TKIs include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, upper abdominal pain, diarrhoea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abnormal liver function
  • Headaches
  • Oedema
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Low neutrophil white blood cell, red blood cell and platelet counts

Side effects specific to certain TKIs are:


  • Raised glucose levels. Glucose levels should be monitored throughout treatment.


  • Cardiovascular side effects such as shortness of breath, palpitations, and dizziness. These are a result of:
  • Occlusion of arteries or veins
  • High blood pressure
  • Changes in heart rhythm (e.g. rapid heart rate)
  • Cardiovascular status should be monitored and supportive treatment given to minimise any cardiovascular risk.
  • Details for individual TKI side effects are listed in the booklets Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors and Treatment-Free Remission