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CLL Support Association
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Imbruvica Atrial Flutter

My husband hass CLL 11q deletion and has been on this med for 10 months within the first month he became short of breath as the months passed by so did his breathing. He said he feels like he ran a marathon. They say he has A flutter took him off imbruvica does anyone know if the damage will reverse itself or is it permanent ? They put a 30 day monitor on him he had several major episodes as we call them but they did not show up. They are trying to figure out what to do with him! Anyone else has this issue? FYI imbruvica did bring his count from 178,000 to 9030 but he is struggling with the breathing issue His lungs are good

4 Replies

Around 10 - 15% of Ibrutinib/imbruvica patients develop Atrial Fibrillation as a side effect of the drug, but it is managed without discontinuing Ibrutinib by the use of antiarrhythmic drug therapy and the use of anticoagulants.

You haven't said where your husband is being treated. Perhaps it is time to seek a second opinion from a CLL specialist who will have more experience in managing Imbruvica patients who develop heart AF. Hopefully others who have gone through this will reply, giving you and your husband some reassurance and guidance on what to expect.



Good morning

I had this problem after two years in to my treatment, it was intermittent, but for the last three years there have been no signs of it at my three monthly checkups. It seemed to last for a a day or two which I observed from a high pulse, 85 instead of 55-60. It was never thought necessary to stop or reduce my Ibrutinib dose.

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I am taking Ibrutinib and have atrial fibrillation. Although there are similarities, atrial fibrillation (AF) differs from atrial flutter (AFL). With AFL, the atrium beats regularly but too rapidly. With AF, THE ATRIUM IS CHAOTIC AND SIMPLY "quivers". Both conditions are generally treated with anticoagulants such as warfarin, eliquis, Carleton etc to reduce the risk of stroke. Because imbruvica affects clotting (in a different way than the above anticoagulants), the combination can increase the risk of bleeding. However, it does not mean that you must totally stop taking imbruvica. With careful management by your oncologist and electro physiologist, you can continue .

Also note that because AFL differs from AF, sometimes treatments can differ. In my case (AF), I take a drug to control the rhythm. I do not think the same is true for AFL. Best to keep pursuing the issue with your cardiology team. Just be aware that it should not prevent continued use of imbruvica under careful management

Best of luck


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oops. I meant to type Xarelto not Carleton - which is not a drug I've ever heard of. Sorry:(


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