Leukemia--Chronic Myeloid (Myelogenous) Overview

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Treating Leukemia - Chronic Myeloid (CML) TOPICS

Interferon for chronic myeloid leukemia

Interferons are substances naturally made by some immune system cells. At one time interferon was one of the main treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), but the new targeted drugs, as described above, are now the mainstay of treatment. Interferon can be used to slow the growth of leukemia cells and is injected (given as a shot) under the skin every day for several years.

Interferon can cause side effects. These include flu-like symptoms. Patients taking this drug may also have problems thinking and concentrating.

Side effects of interferon include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Bone pain
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood cell counts
  • Depression

These problems usually get better once treatment is over. But some patients will have to stop treatment because of these side effects.


Last Medical Review: 08/13/2013
Last Revised: 02/10/2014