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Vidaza Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 12/22/2016

Vidaza (azacitidine for injection) is a cancer medication used to treat certain types of bone marrow cancers and blood cell disorders. Common side effects of Vidaza include:

Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Vidaza including:

  • easy bleeding or bruising,
  • chest pain,
  • muscle cramps,
  • irregular heartbeat,
  • swollen ankles or feet,
  • mental/mood changes (e.g., anxiety, depression),
  • changes in the amount of urine,
  • dark urine, or
  • yellowing eyes or skin.

The recommended starting dose of Vidaza for the first treatment cycle, for all patients regardless of baseline hematology laboratory values, is 75 mg/mē subcutaneously or intravenously, daily for 7 days. Cycles should be repeated every 4 weeks. Other drugs may interact with Vidaza. Tell your doctor all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you use. Vidaza is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Men using this medication should avoid causing pregnancy during treatment. It is recommended that men and women use 2 forms of birth control (e.g., condoms and birth control pills) while using this medication and for some time afterward. Consult your doctor to discuss birth control. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breastfeeding while using this drug is not recommended.

Our Vidaza (azacitidine for injection) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is Patient Information in Detail?

Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.

Vidaza in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • redness, swelling, warmth, oozing, or other signs of skin infection;
  • sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough or hack;
  • severe ongoing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;
  • burning or skin changes where the injection was given;
  • lower back pain, blood in your urine, urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth;
  • muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction, overactive reflexes;
  • fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, confusion, fainting; or
  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;
  • stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation;
  • feeling weak or tired;
  • pain, redness, bruising, or other irritation where the injection was given;
  • headache, dizziness;
  • anxiety, sleep problems (insomnia);
  • joint or muscle pain; or
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Vidaza (Azacitidine)

What is Patient Information Overview?

A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.

Vidaza Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects

SIDE EFFECTS: Redness/pain/bruising at the injection site, tiredness, diarrhea, dizziness, trouble sleeping, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Many people using this medication have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: easy bleeding/bruising, chest pain, muscle/joint pain, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, swollen ankles/feet, mental/mood changes (e.g., anxiety, depression), change in the amount of urine, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.

This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills, cough, or persistent sore throat.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Read the entire patient information overview for Vidaza (Azacitidine)

What is Prescribing information?

The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.

Vidaza FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
(Adverse Reactions)


The following adverse reactions are described in other labeling sections:

Most Commonly Occurring Adverse Reactions (SC or IV Route): nausea, anemia, thrombocytopenia, vomiting, pyrexia, leukopenia, diarrhea, injection site erythema, constipation, neutropenia, ecchymosis. The most common adverse reactions by IV route also included petechiae, rigors, weakness and hypokalemia.

Adverse Reactions Most Frequently ( > 2%) Resulting in Clinical Intervention (SC or IV Route):

Discontinuation: leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia.

Dose Held: leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, pyrexia, pneumonia, febrile neutropenia.

Dose Reduced: leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia.

Adverse Reactions In Clinical Trials

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The data described below reflect exposure to VIDAZA in 443 MDS patients from 4 clinical studies. Study 1 was a supportive-care controlled trial (SC administration), Studies 2 and 3 were single arm studies (one with SC administration and one with IV administration), and Study 4 was an international randomized trial (SC administration) [see Clinical Studies].

In Studies 1, 2 and 3, a total of 268 patients were exposed to VIDAZA, including 116 exposed for 6 cycles (approximately 6 months) or more and 60 exposed for greater than 12 cycles (approximately one year). VIDAZA was studied primarily in supportive-care controlled and uncontrolled trials (n=150 and n=118, respectively). The population in the subcutaneous studies (n=220) was 23 to 92 years old (mean 66.4 years), 68% male, and 94% white, and had MDS or AML. The population in the IV study (n=48) was 35 to 81 years old (mean 63.1 years), 65% male, and 100% white. Most patients received average daily doses between 50 and 100 mg/m².

In Study 4, a total of 175 patients with higher-risk MDS (primarily RAEB and RAEB-T subtypes) were exposed to VIDAZA. Of these patients, 119 were exposed for 6 or more cycles, and 63 for at least 12 cycles. The mean age of this population was 68.1 years (ranging from 42 to 83 years), 74% were male, and 99% were white. Most patients received daily VIDAZA doses of 75 mg/m².

Table 1 presents adverse reactions occurring in at least 5% of patients treated with VIDAZA (SC) in Studies 1 and 2. It is important to note that duration of exposure was longer for the VIDAZA-treated group than for the observation group: patients received VIDAZA for a mean of 11.4 months while mean time in the observation arm was 6.1 months.

Table 1: Most Frequently Observed Adverse Reactions ( ≥ 5.0% in All SC VIDAZA Treated Patients; Studies 1 and 2)

System Organ Class
Preferred Terma
Number (%) of Patients
Blood and lymphatic system disorders
  Anemia 153 (69.5) 59 (64.1)
  Anemia aggravated 12 (5.5) 5 (5.4)
  Febrile neutropenia 36 (16.4) 4 (4.3)
  Leukopenia 106 (48.2) 27 (29.3)
  Neutropenia 71 (32.3) 10 (10.9)
  Thrombocytopenia 144 (65.5) 42 (45.7)
Gastrointestinal disorders
  Abdominal tenderness 26 (11.8) 1 (1.1)
  Constipation 74 (33.6) 6 (6.5)
  Diarrhea 80 (36.4) 13 (14.1)
  Gingival bleeding 21 (9.5) 4 (4.3)
  Loose stools 12 (5.5) 0
  Mouth hemorrhage 11 (5.0) 1 (1.1)
  Nausea 155 (70.5) 16 (17.4)
  Stomatitis 17 (7.7) 0
  Vomiting 119 (54.1) 5 (5.4)
General disorders and administration site conditions
  Chest pain 36 (16.4) 5 (5.4)
  Injection site bruising 31 (14.1) 0
  Injection site erythema 77 (35.0) 0
  Injection site granuloma 11 (5.0) 0
  Injection site pain 50 (22.7) 0
  Injection site pigmentation changes 11 (5.0) 0
  Injection site pruritus 15 (6.8) 0
  Injection site reaction 30 (13.6) 0
  Injection site swelling 11 (5.0) 0
  Lethargy 17 (7.7) 2 (2.2)
  Malaise 24 (10.9) 1 (1.1)
  Pyrexia 114 (51.8) 28 (30.4)
Infections and infestations
  Nasopharyngitis 32 (14.5) 3 (3.3)
  Pneumonia 24 (10.9) 5 (5.4)
  Upper respiratory tract infection 28 (12.7) 4 (4.3)
Injury, poisoning, and procedural complications
  Post procedural hemorrhage 13 (5.9) 1 (1.1)
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
  Anorexia 45 (20.5) 6 (6.5)
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders
  Arthralgia 49 (22.3) 3 (3.3)
  Chest wall pain 11 (5.0) 0
  Myalgia 35 (15.9) 2 (2.2)
Nervous system disorders
  Dizziness 41 (18.6) 5 (5.4)
  Headache 48 (21.8) 10 (10.9)
Psychiatric disorders
  Anxiety 29 (13.2) 3 (3.3)
  Insomnia 24 (10.9) 4 (4.3)
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
  Dyspnea 64 (29.1) 11 (12.0)
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
  Dry skin 11 (5.0) 1 (1.1)
  Ecchymosis 67 (30.5) 14 (15.2)
  Erythema 37 (16.8) 4 (4.3)
  Rash 31 (14.1) 9 (9.8)
  Skin nodule 11 (5.0) 1 (1.1)
  Urticaria 13 (5.9) 1 (1.1)
Vascular disorders
  Hematoma 19 (8.6) 0
  Hypotension 15 (6.8) 2 (2.2)
  Petechiae 52 (23.6) 8 (8.7)
a Multiple terms of the same preferred terms for a patient are only counted once within each treatment group.
b Includes adverse reactions from all patients exposed to VIDAZA, including patients after crossing over from observations.
c Includes adverse reactions from observation period only; excludes any adverse events after crossover to VIDAZA.

Table 2 presents adverse reactions occurring in at least 5% of patients treated with VIDAZA in Study 4. Similar to Studies 1 and 2 described above, duration of exposure to treatment with VIDAZA was longer (mean 12.2 months) compared with best supportive care (mean 7.5 months).

Table 2: Most Frequently Observed Adverse Reactions ( ≥ 5.0% in the VIDAZA Treated Patients and the Percentage with NCI CTC Grade 3/4 Reactions; Study 4)

System Organ Class
Preferred Terma
Number (%) of Patients
Any Grade Grade 3/4
Best Supportive Care Only
Best Supportive Care Only
Blood and lymphatic system disorders
  Anemia 90 (51.4) 45 (44.1) 24 (13.7) 9 (8.8)
  Febrile neutropenia 24 (13.7) 10 (9.8) 22 (12.6) 7 (6.9)
  Leukopenia 32 (18.3) 2 (2.0) 26 (14.9) 1 (1.0)
  Neutropenia 115 (65.7) 29 (28.4) 107 (61.1) 22 (21.6)
  Thrombocytopenia  122 (69.7) 35 (34.3) 102 (58.3) 29 (28.4)
Gastrointestinal disorders
  Abdominal pain 22 (12.6) 7 (6.9) 7 (4.0) 0
  Constipation 88 (50.3) 8 (7.8) 2 (1.1) 0
  Dyspepsia 10 (5.7) 2 (2.0) 0 0
  Nausea 84 (48.0) 12 (11.8) 3 (1.7) 0
  Vomiting 47 (26.9) 7 (6.9) 0 0
General disorders and administration site conditions
  Fatigue 42 (24.0) 12 (11.8) 6 (3.4) 2 (2.0)
  Injection site bruising 9 (5.1) 0 0 0
  Injection site erythema 75 (42.9) 0 0 0
  Injection site hematoma 11 (6.3) 0 0 0
  Injection site induration 9 (5.1) 0 0 0
  Injection site pain 33 (18.9) 0 0 0
  Injection site rash 10 (5.7) 0 0 0
  Injection site reaction 51 (29.1) 0 1 (0.6) 0
  Pyrexia 53 (30.3) 18 (17.6) 8 (4.6) 1 (1.0)
Infections and infestations
  Rhinitis 10 (5.7) 1 (1.0) 0 0
  Upper respiratory tract infection   16 (9.1) 4 (3.9) 3 (1.7) 0
  Urinary tract infection 15 (8.6) 3 (2.9) 3 (1.7) 0
  Weight decreased 14 (8.0) 0 1 (0.6) 0
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
  Hypokalemia 11 (6.3) 3 (2.9) 3 (1.7) 3 (2.9)
Nervous system disorders
  Lethargy 13 (7.4) 2 (2.0) 0 1 (1.0)
Psychiatric disorders
  Anxiety 9 (5.1) 1 (1.0) 0 0
  Insomnia 15 (8.6) 3 (2.9) 0 0
Renal and urinary disorders
  Hematuria 11 (6.3) 2 (2.0) .3) (2. 4 1 (1.0)
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
  Dyspnea 26 (14.9) 5 (4.9) 6 (3.4) 2 (2.0)
  Dyspnea exertional 9 (5.1) 1 (1.0) 0 0
  Pharyngolaryngeal pain 11 (6.3) 3 (2.9) 0 0
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
  Erythema 13 (7.4) 3 (2.9) 0 0
  Petechiae 20 (11.4) 4 (3.9) 2 (1.1) 0
  Pruritus 21 (12.0) 2 (2.0) 0 0
  Rash 18 (10.3) 1 (1.0) 0 0
Vascular disorders
  Hypertension 15 (8.6) 4 (3.9) 2 (1.1) 2 (2.0)
a Multiple reports of the same preferred term from a patient were only counted once within each treatment.

In Studies 1, 2 and 4 with SC administration of VIDAZA, adverse reactions of neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and injection site erythema/reaction tended to increase in incidence with higher doses of VIDAZA. Adverse reactions that tended to be more pronounced during the first 1 to 2 cycles of SC treatment compared with later cycles included thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, anemia, nausea, vomiting, injection site erythema/pain/bruising/reaction, constipation, petechiae, dizziness, anxiety, hypokalemia, and insomnia. There did not appear to be any adverse reactions that increased in frequency over the course of treatment.

Overall, adverse reactions were qualitatively similar between the IV and SC studies. Adverse reactions that appeared to be specifically associated with the IV route of administration included infusion site reactions (e.g. erythema or pain) and catheter site reactions (e.g. infection, erythema, or hemorrhage).

In clinical studies of either SC or IV VIDAZA, the following serious adverse reactions occurring at a rate of < 5% (and not described in Tables 1 or 2) were reported:

Blood and lymphatic system disorders: agranulocytosis, bone marrow failure, pancytopenia splenomegaly.

Cardiac disorders: atrial fibrillation, cardiac failure, cardiac failure congestive, cardiorespiratory arrest, congestive cardiomyopathy.

Eye disorders: eye hemorrhage

Gastrointestinal disorders: diverticulitis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, melena, perirectal abscess.

General disorders and administration site conditions: catheter site hemorrhage, general physical health deterioration, systemic inflammatory response syndrome.

Hepatobiliary disorders: cholecystitis.

Immune system disorders: anaphylactic shock, hypersensitivity.

Infections and infestations: abscess limb, bacterial infection, cellulitis, blastomycosis, injection site infection, Klebsiella sepsis, neutropenic sepsis, pharyngitis streptococcal, pneumonia Klebsiella, sepsis, septic shock, Staphylococcal bacteremia, Staphylococcal infection, toxoplasmosis.

Metabolism and nutrition disorders: dehydration.

Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: bone pain aggravated, muscle weakness, neck pain.

Neoplasms benign, malignant and unspecified: leukemia cutis.

Nervous system disorders: cerebral hemorrhage, convulsions, intracranial hemorrhage.

Renal and urinary disorders: loin pain, renal failure.

Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: hemoptysis, lung infiltration, pneumonitis, respiratory distress.

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: pyoderma gangrenosum, rash pruritic, skin induration.

Surgical and medical procedures: cholecystectomy.

Vascular disorders: orthostatic hypotension.

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during postmarketing use of VIDAZA. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Vidaza (Azacitidine)

Vidaza - User Reviews

Vidaza User Reviews

Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.

Here is a collection of user reviews for the medication Vidaza sorted by most helpful. Patient Discussions FAQs

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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