If you have certain types of cancer, your doctor might suggest Tecentriq (atezolizumab) as a treatment option for you. Along with other questions you may have about the drug, you could be wondering about its side effects.

Tecentriq is a prescription medication that’s used to treat the following cancers in adults:

Based on your treatment plan, you may use Tecentriq short or long term.

Depending on the condition you’re using Tecentriq to treat, you may receive the drug alone or with other cancer medications. This includes chemotherapy. Whether you receive Tecentriq with other cancer medications can affect your risk for certain side effects.

For more information about Tecentriq, including details about its uses, see this in-depth article on the drug.

Tecentriq contains the active drug atezolizumab, which is a biologic. The active drug is the ingredient that makes a medication work. A biologic is made from parts of living organisms.

Like other drugs, Tecentriq can cause mild or serious side effects. Keep reading to learn more.

Listed below are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Tecentriq in studies. These side effects can vary depending on whether Tecentriq is used by itself or what condition the drug is being used to treat.

More common side effects when Tecentriq is used by itself:

More common side effects when Tecentriq is used with other cancer medications to treat small cell and non-small cell lung cancer:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • hair loss
  • nausea
  • fatigue or weakness

More common side effects when Tecentriq is used with cancer drug Abraxane (paclitaxel protein-bound) to treat triple-negative breast cancer:

More common side effects when Tecentriq is used with cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab) to treat liver cancer:

More common side effects when Tecentriq is used with the cancer drugs Cotellic (cobimetinib) and Zelboraf (vemurafenib) to treat melanoma:

Like most drugs, Tecentriq can cause mild side effects. In most cases, these usually go away on their own after a few days. But if you have side effects that concern you or don’t go away, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Tecentriq include:

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. Some are quite manageable, too. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or that bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Don’t stop using Tecentriq unless your doctor recommends it.

Tecentriq may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the Tecentriq medication guide for details.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Tecentriq, visit MedWatch.

Although they aren’t common, serious side effects can happen with Tecentriq treatment. Serious side effects that have been reported with Tecentriq include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see “Side effects explained” below.

If you develop serious side effects while receiving Tecentriq, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Tecentriq’s side effects.

My doctor recommends Tecentriq to treat my lung cancer. Do any of its side effects happen more often in people with my condition?

For treating certain types of lung cancer, Tecentriq is used with other cancer drugs. The other drugs used with Tecentriq for this purpose may affect the side effects you have.

Common side effects in people using Tecentriq with other cancer drugs to treat certain lung cancers include:

For a list of mild and serious side effects that Tecentriq may cause, see “What are the mild side effects of Tecentriq?” and “What are the serious side effects of Tecentriq?” above.

What side effects are more common in people using Tecentriq for breast cancer treatment?

Tecentriq is used with other cancer drugs for treating certain types of breast cancer. Use of other drugs with Tecentriq may affect the side effects that you experience.

Common side effects in people using Tecentriq with the cancer drug Abraxane (paclitaxel protein-bound) to treat triple-negative breast cancer include:

For a list of mild and serious side effects that Tecentriq may cause, see “What are the mild side effects of Tecentriq?” and “What are the serious side effects of Tecentriq?” above.

How long do side effects from Tecentriq last?

Tecentriq can cause some side effects, such as nausea, which usually don’t last long. Often, mild side effects due to Tecentriq go away on their own after a few days or hours.

But other side effects, such as liver problems, may not be reversible. It’s possible they won’t go away, although there may be treatments for symptoms or problems caused by such side effects.

If you have questions about how long a specific side effect may last while using Tecentriq, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can address your concerns and suggest ways to treat side effects caused by your cancer treatment plan.

Learn more about some of the side effects Tecentriq may cause.

Cardiac problems

Although rare, some serious cardiac (heart) problems were reported in a few cases by people receiving Tecentriq in studies.

Types of serious heart problems reported in these studies include:

Serious heart problems were reported by people who took Tecentriq to treat these conditions:

In addition, Tecentriq can also cause milder heart problems, such as high blood pressure. But for some people, increases in blood pressure could be serious.

Tecentriq can also cause a heart problem called myocarditis, which is due to an immune system reaction. For more information, see “Immune system reactions” below.

What might help

If you notice symptoms of heart problems while using Tecentriq, contact your doctor right away. Examples include chest pain or an irregular heartbeat.

Before using Tecentriq, ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of therapy, including your risk for heart problems.

Infusion reactions

Therapy with Tecentriq can lead to infusion reactions. Although rare, these reactions can be serious.

Tecentriq comes as a liquid solution that you receive by intravenous (IV) infusion. With an IV infusion, a drug slowly drips into your vein over time. Infusion reactions are symptoms that may occur during or shortly after getting an infusion.

Symptoms of an infusion reaction caused by Tecentriq may include:

What might help

While you’re getting a Tecentriq infusion, a healthcare professional will monitor you for infusion reactions. If you develop an infusion reaction, they may:

  • slow down the infusion rate
  • temporarily stop the infusion
  • end treatment with Tecentriq if the reaction is severe or bothersome to you

To help prevent infusion reactions, your doctor may give you premedications before your infusion. Premedications are drugs used to help prevent infusion reactions. Your doctor or a healthcare professional can give you more information on premedications used with Tecentriq infusions.

Immune system reactions

Tecentriq works by boosting your immune system. This helps your body find and kill cancer cells. But increasing your immune system’s activity can cause it to mistakenly attack healthy cells.

In rare cases, this can cause immune system reactions that can affect any cell in your body. The table below gives examples of areas of the body these reactions can affect and problems that may result.

Area of the bodyPotential problem
heartmyocarditis (inflammation in the heart)
intestinescolitis (inflammation in the intestines)
kidneysnephritis (inflammation in the kidneys)
liverhepatitis (inflammation in the liver)
lungspneumonitis (inflammation in the lungs)
skinrash or painful sores
endocrine glands (glands that produce hormones)problems with hormone levels, such as low thyroid hormones

In addition, people who’ve had an organ transplant are at risk for having the transplant rejected if they receive Tecentriq. This is also caused by Tecentriq boosting your immune system activity.

What might help

There’s no known way to prevent immune system reactions caused by Tecentriq. But these reactions were rare in studies of the drug.

During Tecentriq treatment, your doctor will monitor you closely for signs of an immune system reaction to the drug. This may include ordering blood tests. Early detection of immune system problems caused by Tecentriq can help prevent these side effects from causing serious symptoms.

If you have immune system reactions while receiving Tecentriq, your doctor may temporarily stop treatment until the symptoms go away. Or they may have you permanently stop treatment with Tecentriq. They may also prescribe a treatment to lower your immune system activity for a bit while you temporarily stop using Tecentriq. Corticosteroids are an example of this type of treatment.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Tecentriq can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter antihistamine you take by mouth, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), or a product you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream, to manage your symptoms.

If your doctor confirms you had a mild allergic reaction to Tecentriq, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you had a serious allergic reaction to Tecentriq, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Tecentriq treatment, consider keeping notes on any side effects you’re having. You can then share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful to do when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of drug you were receiving when you had the side effect
  • how soon after starting that dose you had the side effect
  • what your symptoms were from the side effect
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were also taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help your doctor learn more about how Tecentriq affects you. Your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Tecentriq may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you receive Tecentriq. The list below includes factors to consider.

Current infection. Receiving Tecentriq could cause a current infection to become worse. Before you start Tecentriq treatment, be sure to tell your doctor if you have an infection. They’ll likely want to treat the infection first.

Heart or liver problems, or other problems involving your organs. In rare cases, using Tecentriq can cause immune system reactions. These can affect any cell in your body, including those of your heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and intestines. If you already have certain health problems, you may be at higher risk for immune system reactions. Your doctor can help determine if Tecentriq is safe for you to use.

Immune system condition. If you have an immune system condition, such as Crohn’s disease, receiving Tecentriq could make your condition worse. This is because Tecentriq works by increasing your immune system’s activity. Tell your doctor if you have an immune system condition so that they can determine if Tecentriq is safe for you.

Organ transplant. Tecentriq works by boosting your immune system. This helps your body find and kill cancer cells. But increasing your immune system’s activity can cause it to mistakenly attack healthy cells, such as those of a transplanted organ. Tell your doctor if you’ve had an organ transplant or are planning to have one. They may recommend a medication other than Tecentriq.

Stem cell transplant. If you’ve received a stem cell transplant, using Tecentriq can cause serious side effects, even death. Be sure to tell your doctor if you’ve received or are planning to receive a stem cell transplant. They may recommend a drug other than Tecentriq or may monitor you more closely during treatment with Tecentriq.

Past radiation therapy to your chest. Using Tecentriq can cause immune system reactions, which may affect your lungs. If you’ve had radiation therapy to your chest, you might be at higher risk for immune system side effects from Tecentriq. In this case, your doctor may recommend a different medication for your treatment.

Nervous system problems. Using Tecentriq may cause side effects that affect your nervous system. If you already have a nervous system condition, such as myasthenia gravis, your condition may worsen with Tecentriq. Before you start Tecentriq treatment, tell your doctor about any problems affecting your nervous system. They can determine if Tecentriq is safe for you.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Tecentriq or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t receive Tecentriq. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Alcohol use and Tecentriq

There’s no known interaction between consuming alcohol and receiving Tecentriq.

But alcohol may interact with other medications sometimes used with Tecentriq. Drinking alcohol may also increase your risk for certain side effects, including nausea and liver problems.

If you consume alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe to drink before you begin treatment with Tecentriq.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while receiving Tecentriq

Because Tecentriq may cause loss of pregnancy, you shouldn’t receive Tecentriq while pregnant. If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, your doctor will likely recommend a different treatment than Tecentriq.

If you can become pregnant, you should use birth control during Tecentriq treatment. And you should continue using birth control for at least 5 months after your last Tecentriq infusion.

It’s not known if Tecentriq passes into human breast milk. But the drug has the potential to cause serious side effects in a child who’s breastfed. For this reason, you shouldn’t breastfeed while receiving Tecentriq or for at least 5 months after your last Tecentriq infusion. Talk with your doctor about healthy ways to feed your child while your condition is being treated with Tecentriq.

Like other drugs, Tecentriq can cause side effects. Most side effects caused by the drug are mild and typically go away on their own. But in rare cases, it may cause serious side effects.

If you experience symptoms of serious side effects from Tecentriq, contact your doctor right away. You should also immediately call your doctor if you become pregnant while receiving Tecentriq. The drug isn’t safe to use during pregnancy.

Before you start using Tecentriq, talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re curious about side effects. They can help provide answers to make you feel confident about your cancer treatment. Here are a few questions you might want to ask:

  • What premedications are options for me to take to help prevent infusion reactions?
  • Are there other ways to help me manage side effects from Tecentriq?
  • I have heart failure. Is it safe for me to use Tecentriq?
  • What side effects are possible if I breastfeed while receiving Tecentriq?

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.