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Information leaflet on palbociclib        949

This leaflet provides information on a course of treatment called palbociclib.  The leaflet will explain what this is and when and how it will be given.  It will also tell you about common side effects that you may experience.  Contact telephone numbers are given at the end of the leaflet.

What is palbociclib?

Palbociclib is a cancer treatment which is given as tablets.  

Why am I having palbociclib?

Palbociclib has been found to help some patients with your type of cancer.

How often will I see the specialist team?

You will see the specialist team every 4 weeks.  You will have regular blood tests and we will check how you are feeling and discuss any problems you may have.  This is so we can check how the treatment is affecting you.  

Can I bring relatives and friends with me? 

You are welcome to bring someone to stay with you during your treatment. Space is limited so there is not usually room for more than one person.  Treatment areas are not suitable for young children.

How should I take the palbociclib tablets?

Palbociclib tablets should be taken once a day for 21 days   Try to take them at approximately the same time every day.  You should take the tablets with food.  The tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water.  They must not be chewed or crushed.  Do not take any tablets that are broken in any way.

How many palbociclib tablets will I need to take?

The amount you need to take will be clearly marked on the box. 

What should I do if I forget to take my tablets?

If you forget to take your tablets , miss the dose and take the dose as normal the next day.

What if I take too many tablets?

Please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately for advice.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.   Please ask for the chemotherapy pager. 

How should I store the tablets?

Your tablets should be stored in their original packaging and in a safe place away from children. They should be kept in a cool dry place (below 25oC).

Any unused tablets should be returned to the hospital Pharmacy or your local chemist for safe disposal.  

What are the possible side effects?

This treatment is usually well tolerated but there are some possible side effects that you need to be aware of.  The doctors, nurses and pharmacy team can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.

Effects on your bowels

This treatment has been known to cause either constipation or diarrhoea.  

  • If you experience constipation it is important that you increase the amount of fluids you drink.  You may need laxatives.  You can speak to us or your GP for advice. 
  • If you experience diarrhoea it is important that you drink plenty of fluids.  Medication is available to control diarrhoea.  If you have 4 or more bowel movements in 24 hours above what is normal for you please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. 

Loss of appetite or sickness

You may experience loss of appetite, this varies from person to person and some people may have a problem with nausea and vomiting.  If you do have these symptoms please tell your doctor or nurse. They can give you anti-sickness medication to take at home. If you are sick more than once in 24 hours despite taking regular anti-sickness medicine, contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. 

Tiredness and fatigue 

The treatment can make you feel more tired than usual.  It is important to listen to your body and rest if you need to, but carry out your normal activities if you feel able.  Some people find it beneficial to take gentle exercise as well as taking rest.

Sore mouth

Your mouth may become sore or you may notice small ulcers. Please follow the advice on caring for your mouth in the general chemotherapy leaflet.  Your doctor may prescribe mouthwashes or medication to prevent or clear any infection. If you are unable to eat or drink because of a sore mouth, contact Velindre Cancer centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. 

Hair loss

This treatment should not make you lose your hair.  However, some people may experience hair thinning.  We have a leaflet that tells you more about coping with hair loss, if needed.  Please ask your nurse if you would like a copy. 

Skin problems

Some patients will develop a rash.  Usually this can be easily treated with some non perfumed cream or lotion.  

If this becomes itchy or widespread, contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. 


You are at an increased risk of picking up infections because your white blood cells which help fight infections can be reduced by this treatment.  
If you develop an infection whilst your white blood cells are low, you are at risk of sepsis, this can be life threatening. 

Contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately if you develop any signs of infection, for example flu like symptoms or a temperature above 37.5°centigrade or if your temperature is below 35.5°.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.


Palbociclib may reduce the production of platelets (which help the blood to clot).  This will increase your risk of bruising or bleeding.  If you notice any excessive bruising on your body or bleeding such as nosebleeds or bleeding from your gums you should contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. 

Blood clots

A diagnosis of cancer can increase your risk of developing a blood clot (thrombosis), and having cancer treatment may increase this risk further.  It is important to tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms such as pain, redness and swelling in your leg, or breathlessness and chest pain.  

Blood clots can be very serious.  However, most clots can usually be successfully treated with drugs to thin the blood.  Your doctor or nurse can give you more information.

Other side effects and information

You must avoid eating grapefruits or drinking grapefruit juice at any time whilst you are taking Palbociclib.

Some patients may experience headaches whilst taking palbociclib.  This can be treated with whatever painkillers you would usually take.

You are more at risk of blood clots whilst taking Palbociclib, if you become short of breath, or experience pain when breathing in, pain or swelling in your leg contact Velindre cancer centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. 

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

It is important you do not become pregnant or father a child whilst having treatment. This is because palbociclib could damage the unborn baby. In addition, it should not be used whilst breast feeding. 

Is it alright to take other medicines?

In clinic your doctor will discuss your current medicines with you before starting palbociclib. If you are prescribed other medicines, whilst on a course of palbociclib please let your doctor, nurse or pharmacist know at Velindre, as there are many medications which should not be taken with Palbociclib .  There are also many over the counter medicines that you may have to avoid, for example, St. John’s Wort. You need to check with your pharmacist before taking any over the counter medication. 

Sometimes cancer drugs can have very serious side effects which rarely can be life threatening. It is important to inform Velindre cancer centre if you are concerned about any side-effects.

Manufacturer’s patient information leaflets

Velindre leaflets provide information about very common and commonly reported side-effects (we are unable to list all of the common side effects), for more information regarding these and the less common side-effects please refer to the manufacturers patient information leaflets, obtained from Velindre pharmacy and/or on the internet at Sometimes patients may find these leaflets difficult to read however. Please ask if you would like a copy from your doctor or from Velindre pharmacy

Contact telephone numbers

Velindre Cancer Centre        029 2061 5888
For urgent advice at any time of the day or night please ask for the treatment helpline

Pharmacy department         029 2061 5888 ext 6223
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm for queries about your medicines

Macmillan freephone Helpline     0808 808 0000

Tenovus freephone                 0808 808 1010
cancer helpline 

This leaflet was written by health professionals.  The information contained in this leaflet is evidence based.  It has been approved by doctors, nurses and patients.  It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.