Calquence Connections


Understanding Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

A Patient’s View on Navigating the Healthcare System

Find a Treatment for CLL

Expectations and Outcomes from Treatment

Communication with your Care Team


More Information on CALQUENCE


CALQUENCE is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).

It is not known if CALQUENCE is safe and effective in children.

Important Safety Information About CALQUENCE® (acalabrutinib) capsules

Before taking CALQUENCE, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have had recent surgery or plan to have surgery. Your healthcare provider may stop CALQUENCE for any planned medical, surgical, or dental procedure.
  • have bleeding problems.
  • have or had heart rhythm problems.
  • have an infection.
  • have or had liver problems, including hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. CALQUENCE may harm your unborn baby and cause problems during childbirth (dystocia).
    • If you are able to become pregnant, your healthcare provider may do a pregnancy test before you start treatment with CALQUENCE
    • Females who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment with CALQUENCE and for at least 1 week after the last dose of CALQUENCE
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if CALQUENCE passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment with CALQUENCE and for at least 2 weeks after your final dose of CALQUENCE.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the­-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Taking CALQUENCE with certain other medications may affect how CALQUENCE works and can cause side effects. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take a blood thinner medicine.

How should I take CALQUENCE?
  • Take CALQUENCE exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking CALQUENCE unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
  • Your healthcare provider may tell you to decrease your dose, temporarily stop, or completely stop taking CALQUENCE if you develop certain side effects.
  • Take CALQUENCE 2 times a day (about 12 hours apart).
  • Take CALQUENCE with or without food.
  • Swallow CALQUENCE capsules whole with a glass of water. Do not open, break, or chew capsules.
  • If you need to take an antacid medicine, take it either 2 hours before or 2 hours after you take CALQUENCE.
  • If you need to take certain other medicines called acid reducers (H2-receptor blockers), take CALQUENCE 2 hours before the acid reducer medicine.
  • If you miss a dose of CALQUENCE, take it as soon as you remember. If it is more than 3 hours past your usual dosing time, skip the missed dose and take your next dose of CALQUENCE at your regularly scheduled time. Do not take an extra dose to make up for a missed dose.
What are the possible side effects of CALQUENCE?
CALQUENCE may cause serious side effects, including:
  • Serious infections can happen during treatment with CALQUENCE and may lead to death. Your healthcare provider may prescribe certain medicines if you have an increased risk of getting infections. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any signs or symptoms of an infection, including fever, chills, or flu-like symptoms.
  • Bleeding problems (hemorrhage) can happen during treatment with CALQUENCE and can be serious and may lead to death. Your risk of bleeding may increase if you are also taking a blood thinner medicine. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any signs or symptoms of bleeding, including blood in your stools or black stools (looks like tar), pink or brown urine, unexpected bleeding or bleeding that is severe or you cannot control, vomit blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds, cough up blood or blood clots, dizziness, weakness, confusion, changes in your speech, headache that lasts a long time, or bruising or red or purple skin marks
  • Decrease in blood cell counts. Decreased blood counts (white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells) are common with CALQUENCE, but can also be severe. Your healthcare provider should do blood tests to check your blood counts regularly during treatment with CALQUENCE.
  • Second primary cancers. New cancers have happened in people during treatment with CALQUENCE, including cancers of the skin or other organs. Your healthcare provider will check you for skin cancers during treatment with CALQUENCE. Use sun protection when you are outside in sunlight.
  • Heart rhythm problems (atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter) have happened in people treated with CALQUENCE. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following signs or symptoms: fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint, chest discomfort, or shortness of breath

The most common side effects of CALQUENCE include headache, diarrhea, muscle and joint pain, upper respiratory tract infection, and bruising.

These are not all the possible side effects of CALQUENCE. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information.

Meet the Speakers


Marsena Pelton, MSN, RN, OCN: Jim, tell us how you felt when you first received a chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) diagnosis?

Jim: Well, when I first (was) diagnosed, I was in a bit of shock, to be honest with you, because I didn’t realize it and I (found) out from the doctor that I’d had it (for) six or seven years. I just thought I was getting old because I just wanted to sleep more and I had little energy.

Before I knew I had it I realized that I was getting more tired, I just didn’t want to do the things I used to do. In fact, I’m an avid stamp collector and I wasn’t even doing that. My wife is trying to coax me into getting things done. We used to go on long hikes because we love to hike, and I didn’t want to do that. I just didn’t have any energy and I thought it was because I’m 60-something years old now, or 70. When it first started, I was in my late sixties. Found out I had it, I was in seventies, and I thought well, this must be that old age you got and I just had no energy.

We go every year just to have physicals and we went to see our doctor and she said your spleen, I think it was the spleen, feels — I’m going to recommend you to an oncologist. I go “who?” That’s fine. We go over to the cancer center where Dr Sharman’s at.

We see Dr Sharman and he says leukemia is one that you watch and when it gets bad then we have to start treatment and we’ll decide at that time. Then they took a blood test and we had to go back the next day and he goes, “You’ve got it really bad. I suspect you to start being symptomatic in two months.” Then, he says, “I’ve got a program that I want to get you into that is a study and I’ll see what I can do about it.” He left the room right away and came back and said, “I got you in the study.” I’m all for that because I think anything you can do to help yourself and others. I said, “Yeah, I’m all for it.”

Marsena Pelton, MSN, RN, OCN: Nichole, after a patient is diagnosed with CLL in what ways do you support them navigating their care?

Nichole Fisher, BSN, RN: We are a part of every patient’s journey, since every journey is different for our patients. It is our job to help guide or navigate them through what can be a very overwhelming and scary situation. Patient navigation involves providing support to overcome barriers to cancer care. I help provide support by being their main point of contact for questions and concerns, patient education, emotional support and side effect management. I also help coordinate care with additional resources as needed, such as financial counseling, social work, pharmacy, dietitians and hospice services.

Some of the signs and symptoms that we discuss with our patients is typically there’s a significant amount of fatigue, but some of our patients report there are also some thrombocytopenia issues, which is a low platelet count. Some of our patients are at risk for increasing bleeding and/or bruising. It primarily again affects other blood counts as well. Patients often present with anemia as well, which is a decreased hemoglobin level. They can have increase in again fatigue and some shortness of breath, too.

Marsena Pelton, MSN, RN, OCN: Jim and Becky, knowing there are a lot of tools and resources out there for patients that are navigating the CLL journey after being newly diagnosed, what have you found to be the most helpful?

Jim: The team at the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute in Eugene, Oregon, is so positive and so helpful that any time we had a question or whatever, they said “call,” and we did, believe me. We got all the answers and whatever it (was) we were curious about they tried to help. We even went in one extra time to talk to the nurse to straighten a couple of questions we might have had, just to make sure, and they were just like I said, like family. I can’t get over what a great team they are and that’s why I drive from Salt Lake City. Now I go once every, what is it? Six weeks? Three months? I go every three months for a checkup to see the doctor.

Becky: For resources when he first started with Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, they came out with a packet that said (the word) cancer on it. It’s in a plastic folder, but it had a calendar in there so we kept the calendar and we’re able to even now refer back to that calendar — how much he had done and when he had it done. I kept all his paperwork so that we knew exactly what they were doing and when they were doing it. We had no questions that couldn’t be answered.

He got the flu at one point in time and they were excellent about that. He got over the flu really quickly.

Marsena Pelton, MSN, RN, OCN: Becky, the role of a caregiver can mean you’re often supporting your loved one in understanding their disease and treatment journey. Tell us a bit more about your role and the impact of your husband’s cancer diagnosis?

Becky: We’re really proactive about our health, so the minute we got home I went on the internet and I Googled Dr Sharman to see what CLL was and how it was going to affect us and the things that I could help Jim do that would make his life easier. I started making kale shakes for him because he likes to eat a lot of sugar and I cut that out, and I made sure that he (received) really good nutrition so he’d be built up while he was taking his infusion so that he wouldn’t feel like his immune system was down, so he’d feel healthier all the way around.

It was hard at first. The more you learn about it the more secure you feel. The team was absolutely amazing and explained everything to me that they were doing, so at that point, it made it really easy on me. I went to every appointment with him and they were seeing success right away, so I’m like “OK, this is working.” We’re doing well and we went along that route and we’re both very pleased with it. He started getting more energetic so we could do the things we used to do. We like to play a lot of cards together and we take hikes and we like to try to get in 10,000 steps a day. We don’t always do that. We make an effort to stay healthy and positive.

The one thing I wanted to do, I realized right off the bat, this is Jim’s problem, Jim’s cancer and if I get negative then that’s not going to help him to be positive, so I thought having a positive view on life was very, very important at that point.

CALQUENCE is a registered trademark of the AstraZeneca group of companies.

©2021 AstraZeneca. All rights reserved. US-49150 Last Updated 5/21