Ibrutinib side effects: My husband is taking... - CLL Support

CLL Support
15,573 members25,100 posts

Ibrutinib side effects


My husband is taking Ibrutinib for CLL and one of his many side effects is very dry skin and constant cracking and peeling of his finger nails - to the point of great pain. Does anyone in the group have suggestions for treating it? Thank you

18 Replies

It is normal it happened to me.... and still! Nail break by themselves and my skin is very dry. My dermo gave me a body lotion which I really like DEXERYL by pierre fabre, emollient cream for dry skin. I’m on ibrutinib for 19 months...good luck


Hi I have had the same side effects whilst taking Ibrutinib. The oncologist department advised using a cream called ZeroBase which they prescribed from the pharmacy. It really has worked on the split nails & skin. Are you in the Uk? Sandra

Junibird in reply to Sanphil

No in the US. THANKS much

Some of us on ibrutinib take biotin daily for the fingernail problem. I take 5000 mcg daily. Biotin is a B vitamin. I brutinib somehow thwarts the body's production or usage of biotin, hence the fingernail problem. Biotin will be a slow fix though. It won't improve existing nails, just new nail formed from here on out. Takes about 4 months for that new nail to reach top of nailbed.

Thanks much. Good suggestion.

If you look at related posts - either to the side or at the bottom of your screen, you should find many posts about nail issues. Some use nail polish (Hard as Nails?) and find it helps. Many take Biotin. Keeping the nails short can help. Several have mentioned Bag Balm or Working Hands at night with gloves on.

I am not taking Ibrutinib, but have a very bad time with dry skin at times. I have found that using one of the skin cleansers that do not require water or can be wiped off with a damp cloth can be a lifesaver. I especially like the foam type that hospitals use - something I discovered when my mother was ill.

My dermo said not to use nail polish, any kind....😒

MsLockYourPostsVolunteer in reply to Deta1961

I would be cautious about nail polish, personally. I’m not on ibrutinib, but have had nail problems forever. My demo said short nails. I do take Biotin. I stopped, thinking that it wasn’t helping, and things went from bad to worse, so I’m back to taking it. I suppose nail issues are like everything with CLL. We’re all different.

I had the same problems with my fingers and fingernails. I started using Eucerin cream every day. I put a bottle of it by every sink in my house and use it every time I wash my hands. My fingers no longer have cracked skin. At night I rub Barielle cream into my fingernails. I also keep my fingernails clipped short. They don’t break as easily now. They aren’t painful any more. Recently I started taking Biotin. I hope you find something that works for your husband.

For dry skin, I am prescribed Dermol 500 lotion after having being referred to a dermatologist. I use this to shower with which seems to help a lot. My dry skin seems much worse in the winter and I then use a moisturising cream called Aproderm Colloidal Oat Cream which again was prescribed after visiting the dermatologist. I am not sure if this is available without prescription but I would have thought so. A very good alternative is Aveeno moisturising oat cream which is readily available in Boots and large supermarkets.

As a keen DIY enthuisiast, after starting on Ibrutinib, I found my nails breaking all the time which is very frustrating when trying to do certain tasks and extremely annoying whenever putting clothing on as the broken nails catch in the sleeve of whatever you are trying to put on. Following advice on here, I have started taking Biotin tablets daily and have been on them for nearly 4 months now and am starting to see a slight improvement. I try and keep them very short as well which also helps a lot. The Biotin tablets I take are made by Solgar (5000 microgram X 1 daily) and are available from Holland and Barrett in the UK and who very often have a buy one get one half price offer on. Hope this helps.

Biotin will help the nails a lot, but it takes a while to kick in.

A good, daily moisturizer - - Eucerin - -worked for me.

I haven't seen it here, but previous posts suggested soaking your fingertips in olive oil for five minutes nightly. I've been doing it for the past two weeks and it seems to help.

MsLockYourPostsVolunteer in reply to hhk50

That idea came from a pharmacist / patient on the CLL Society page.

My nails were a mess, constantly splitting. I started Biotin 3 weeks ago and have noticed a big difference already.

Try Cera Ve healing ointment!

It has helped me a lot!!!

It’s a frustrating common and yes painful problem..

I keep Liquid Bandage ( New Skin ) on hand at all times, in the car, bathroom, workshop etc. Another product, Nexcare Skin Crack Care ( Amazon) is also always close by. I use these at the first sign of a new crack in fingertips. I’ve also found that snipping the loose skin seems to speed healing.

I also take Biotin as mentioned by another here and I keep hydrated drinking at least the suggested 3 quarts of water daily.

Contrary as it seems for men, Emery boards have now become a best friend. I keep my nails short and well filed to minimize snags or chances for chips.

And yes moisturizers help..but not so much at the fingertips. I’ve also though not as often as before worn surgical gloves ( non powdered) over night well greased with lotions.

And finally,,,when you are doing any type of yard work etc .... wear gloves.

Have had dry skin all my life, and then along comes Imbruvica and makes it all even worse. All of the above responses will work (having tried all of them except for Olive Oil). Short nails help a lot. Using "fine" nail files, and also Amlactin cream (on moist skin). My Dermatologist suggested only luke warm showers (not hot), and not to use the "power spray" function, since it flushes away the body oils that need to stay on the skin. Just a soft spray does seem to work better for me. It can be unsightly, and painful. I have even used a bit of Petroleum Jelly on a bandaid when the fingers began to bleed. It does work for me. Hope some of this helps you.

You may also like...