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Darzalex (Daratumumab) Side Effects, Death???

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“In clinical studies, 11% to 26% of people who took Darzalex and standard multiple myeloma treatment developed pneumonia.”

“Chemo” could include very harmful chemicals. Darzalex is immunotherapy that’s now available for mm and brought my numbers to normal in 8 treatments and a friend’s in 5 (all his previous chemo and SCT had failed). NO MORE CHEMO, w it’s hideous side-effects, is needed anymore (no SCT either).

Please suggest Darzalex in place of chemo these days. Thanks. Paul

Hi Paul-

I understand what you are saying and as a MM survivor who has lives with several different chemotherapy-induced late stage side effects, I agree with your thinking.

Chemo, all chemotherapy regimens, bring short, long-term and late stage side effects.

It would be a huge disservice to MM patients and survivors if I suggested darzalex in place of chemo as you suggest. Let me explain.

There are several challenges facing  multiple myeloma patients and survivors:

First, MM is incurable. As such, MM patients and survivors take a combination of chemotherapy regimens one at a time until the patient’s MM becomes resistent to the regimen (MDR), followed by the next therapy, remission, relapse, etc. 

Second, Darzelex is a chemotherapy based on the NCI’s definition of the term and does have short, long-term and late stage side effects. As the article linked and excerpted below states, the serious side effects are rare but they do happen. 

MM patients have died because of darzalex… 

Thirdly, according to the study linked below, darzelex works much better as a MM therapy when it is combined with SOC MM chemotherapy regimens.

In short, MM patients and survivors need both darzelex AND all other FDA approved MM chemotherapy drugs. The key is to take/urdergo as little chemo, endure as little toxicity as possible while managing your multiple myeloma. Balance the damage done by chemo with the damage done by your MM.

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks.

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

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Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, or infusion, or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, or biologic therapy.

Darzalex (daratumumab)


Eight clinical studies looked at how effective Darzalex was at treating multiple myeloma, alone and combined with other cancer-fighting drugs. The research showed that treatment of multiple myeloma was more effective if Darzalex was added to standard cancer treatments than if these standard treatments were given alone

Darzalex side effects

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Darzalex aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Pneumonia, a type of lung infection. Symptoms can include:
    • coughing up phlegm (mucus)
    • fever and chills
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain
  • Hepatitis B, if you’ve had it in the past. Symptoms can include:
    • worsening tiredness
    • yellowing of your skin or the white part of your eyes
  • Peripheral sensory neuropathy (nerve damage that causes tingling, numbness, or pain). 
  • Symptoms can include:
    • numbness or tingling
    • burning pain
    • sensitivity
    • weakness in your hands or feet
  • Peripheral edema (swelling of the hands and feet). Symptoms can include:
    • swelling of the arms or legs
    • stretched skin
    • skin that dents (pits) when pressed for a few seconds
  • Allergic reaction.*
  • Thrombocytopenia (low level of platelets, which are a type of blood cell that helps blood clot).*
  • This serious side effect is explained further in the “Side effect details” section below.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on serious side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Darzalex. It’s not known how often people using Darzalex have allergic reactions…


Taking Darzalex may lead you to develop to a lung infection called pneumonia. This is because if you have multiple myeloma, you’re much more likely to get infections than healthy people.

In clinical studies, 11% to 26% of people who took Darzalex and standard multiple myeloma treatment developed pneumonia. This is compared to 6% to 14% of people who received just the standard treatment.

Pneumonia was the most commonly reported severe infection. Up to 4% of people across all the Darzalex studies had to stop taking the drug due to pneumonia. Death from pneumonia was very rare. But if death did occur, it was because of pneumonia and sepsis (a life-threatening response to infection)…”

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