March 19, 2015

A week with Ibrance

This week I've been getting used to Ibrance (palbociclib). This is the brand new chemo recently approved by the FDA.

I took the first dose last Thursday morning and felt woozy and slightly nauseous all day long. After asking my nurse, I switched to taking it at night. Her theory: if I took it at night, the nausea etc. might not bother me as much. All weekend long I was still slightly nauseous and tired, but by Monday morning I felt like my usual self. That's continued for the rest of the week.

Other side effects have included joint pain in my wrists and elbows as well as in my hips, but hip pain was a chronic discomfort long before I took the first dose of Ibrance. I've felt moderately fatigued, and sleep about 12 hours a night. If I feel nauseous, I take Ativan and it stops the nausea but also puts me to sleep. So I've napped every afternoon as well.

I've had an odd side effect. I've felt a strong need to urinate, combined with low back pain, that caused me to suspect I had a urinary tract infection. Lab tests indicated no trace of an infection, but I still had that too- frequent urge to "go." Nurse J is looking into this as a possible side effect, and a friend who is on the extended trial at Swedish told me that one of those women reported something similar. We shall see. I've been taking AZO over-the-counter to help deal with the pain and discomfort I experience at night. Last night was the first night I slept straight through from 1 AM (the last time I gout out of bed to pee) until noon.

Now it's time for my nighttime snack. Ibrance must be taken with food. Let's see, shall I have a bowl of cereal? Cracker with cream cheese or nut butter? Half a toasted bagel with butter? My stomach grumbled at that last, so bagel it is.

Do send me your ideas for a quick and tasty late night snack, preferably low in sugar. I clearly have to expand my snacking horizons...


  1. Anonymous12:46 AM

    I'm a big fan of grissinis, the Italian sticks - perfect snack. You can eat them plain, or with tomatoes, dips, yogurt, anything.

  2. Hummus on bagel chips or whole-grain crackers/chips? One of my favorite snacks. Hope the side effects abate soon, but at least you can sleep! Better than insomnia, I'd say.

  3. I just found your blog today, while doing a search for side effects of Ibrance. I have breast cancer with mets to the bones, lungs, and liver. I just started Ibrance on June 28.

    I have also had ongoing chronic pain in my hip, and over the weekend, it flared up worse than usual, and I was wondering if it was because of the Ibrance also.

    I take my Ibrance at dinner time; I have noticed that I am sleepier than usual in the evenings, but that is not such a bad thing. I've actually been sleeping better at night since starting the Ibrance, so I guess that is "good" side effect for me.

    I wish you all the best, and now that I have found your blog, I look forward to following your journey.


    1. The author of this blog is deceased.

  4. I am about to start Lbrance next week. I am stage 4 breast cancer with mets in my bones and lymph nodes (before chemo, I had it in my spine, lymph nodes, liver, sternum, sacrum and ribs). After 8
    Months of chemo all spots were gone except 2 in my ribs. They have been stable for 6 months but last month, we found cancer in my subpectoralis node (lymph node). My oncologist wanted me to continue monthly Zometa and add Aromasin. I have taken tamoxifen and Femara in the past and I couldn't tolerate it. Terrible bone and joint pain. Last week he wanted me to take Aromasin. I know that it has the same side effects as tamoxifen and Femara. I filled the script BUT could not make myself take it. I told him today I was not wanting to take it so he said don't. Let's try Lbrance. I didn't realize it's a chemo in a pill. Just wondered how you two are doing on it now?

  5. I have been on Ibrance since March of 2015. My most annoying side affect has been joint pain. My METS showed up in my bones, especially spine, but no where else. Progression before Ibrance was fast and the METS moved to almost every bone in my body. Ibrance has slowed the progression down considerably. At my last blood draw and meeting with my oncologist (January 14, 2016) she used the words "no progression" which I had never heard before since this all started in August of 2014. I am very grateful that Ibrance came along when it did!

  6. Ibrance should be a great benefit!

  7. Karen Holliman8:35 PM

    I have stage IV ER positive and PR positive breast cancer with metastatic disease throughout my spine extensively and and some lymph nodes. I was misdiagnosed by my primary care doctor for three years because he missed findings on my MRI which showed several areas of metastatic disease in my back. That's when I learned to review reports myself and ask questions. I called my oncologist today because my lower back feels very fragile. It feels like bone pain – but it's hard for me to tell the difference between bone and muscle pain. I usually get muscle pain when the muscles are protecting the bones. I have practically doubled my pain medication to get comfort and to be able to rest. My lower back feels like it's going to crumble. The outside of my right leg/thigh muscle is also very sore.The nurse called back today with questions. I have I believe the best cancer doctor. I will be interested in what he has to say. I'm wondering if he will want an x-ray or an MRI. He knows I like to stay away from the hospital as much as possible. But I did let him know that this pain was considerably worse than normal. I just had a CT/pet scan 2 weeks ago. I have been on Ibrance for two weeks. My weekly blood draws are looking good. Other than the pain, I am not having any other side effects. I chose to take the medication at night before going to bad because I feared I would get nauseous. So far, so good. I'm glad I found this forum because I did not see bone pain listed on the Pfizer website. Karen

  8. Brenda12:24 PM

    Glad I found your blog. Are you & others taking the Ibrance alone or with another drug - Femara, Faslodex, Aromasin?

  9. Brenda12:26 PM

    Just curious if you are taking Ibrance alone or with another drug. In reading sounds like everyone is taking just Ibrance

  10. Anonymous10:18 AM

    taking ibrance with faslodex breast cancer mast to lungs.. no lung drain since july 2015 diagnosed in april 2015 hoping it lasts a long time

  11. Cathy2:00 PM

    I have Estrogen responsive breast cancer that has spread to my bones, liver and lungs. I have been on Iberance for two weeks now and just started Faslodex last week. The tumor in my breast seems to be shrinking a little, but the pain in my spine and ribs can be pretty bad. I take Iberance before bed with some crackers or yogurt and haven't felt nauseous often,and my appetite is better overall. Though today is a bad day, fatigue, pain and some nausea. I have had the occasional hot flash but in the middle of winter that is ok by me. A couple of my bones, the left femur and right humerus are eroded in a couple of spots so they will probably need radiation and/or reinforcing with a rod or something. Anyhow I am glad I found this blog. My husband and son take good care of me but it is good to know I am not alone is this cancer thing.thanks for being here, Cathy

  12. Was researching ibrance as I start next week. This site calmed my fears and gave me hope. Thank you.

  13. I start ibrance next week and many comments here gave me hope and calmed my fears.