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Imatinib

Pronunciation

Generic Name: imatinib (im-AT-in-ib)
Brand Name: Gleevec

Imatinib is used for:

Treating certain types of leukemia, certain bone marrow diseases, a certain type of skin cancer, and certain intestinal tumors (eg, gastrointestinal stromal tumors [GIST]). It may also be used to prevent cancer from growing in patients after surgical removal of GIST. It is also used to treat mastocytosis (a buildup of large amounts of mast cells in certain parts of the body) or hypereosinophilic syndrome (a buildup of large amounts of eosinophils in the body). It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Imatinib is a protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitor. It works by preventing the growth of cancer cells.

Do NOT use imatinib if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in imatinib
  • you take lomitapide or warfarin

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using imatinib:

Some medical conditions may interact with imatinib. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are able to become pregnant
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have liver or kidney problems, lung problems, or heart problems (eg, heart failure), or if you are at risk of heart failure
  • if you have had your thyroid gland removed
  • if you have anemia, bone marrow problems, low white blood cell levels, low blood platelet levels, or bleeding problems
  • if you have a history of swelling (edema) or fluid retention
  • if you are or will be taking an iron supplement
  • if you are receiving chemotherapy

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with imatinib. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Azole antifungals (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole), certain macrolide antibiotics (eg, clarithromycin, erythromycin), nefazodone, protease inhibitors (eg, boceprevir, ritonavir), or telithromycin because they may increase the risk of imatinib's side effects
  • Carbamazepine, dexamethasone, hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, primidone, rifamycins (eg, rifampin), or St. John's wort because they may decrease imatinib's effectiveness
  • Alfentanil, certain benzodiazepines (eg, alprazolam), certain calcium channel blockers (eg, nifedipine), cyclosporine, ergot medicines (eg, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine), fentanyl, certain HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors ("statins") (eg, simvastatin), lomitapide, pimozide, quinidine, sirolimus, tacrolimus, or warfarin because the risk of their side effects may be increased by imatinib
  • Levothyroxine because its effectiveness may be decreased by imatinib

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if imatinib may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use imatinib:

Use imatinib as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take imatinib by mouth with a meal and a full glass of water (8 oz [240 mL]).
  • If you have trouble swallowing tablets whole, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You may dissolve your dose in a glass of water or apple juice. The amount of liquid will vary depending on your dose. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for instructions. Stir the mixture well and drink immediately.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you take imatinib.
  • Take imatinib on a regular schedule to get the most benefit from it. Taking imatinib at the same time(s) each day will help you to remember to take it.
  • If you miss a dose of imatinib, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use imatinib.

Important safety information:

  • Imatinib may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use imatinib with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose, change your dose, or stop taking imatinib without checking with your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take imatinib before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Imatinib may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Imatinib may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Do not receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) while you are taking imatinib. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
  • Check your weight every morning and keep a log. Report any 3- to 5-pound weight gain to your doctor.
  • Imatinib may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to imatinib. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • If vomiting or diarrhea occurs, you will need to take care not to become dehydrated. Contact your doctor for instructions.
  • A serious and possibly fatal condition called tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) has been reported in certain patients taking imatinib. Contact your doctor right away if you develop symptoms such as fast or irregular heartbeat; fainting; decreased urination; muscle weakness or cramps; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite; or sluggishness. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • If you may become pregnant, you must use an effective form of birth control while you take imatinib. If you have questions about effective birth control, talk with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including liver function, kidney function, and complete blood cell counts, may be performed while you take imatinib. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use imatinib with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially swelling and fluid retention.
  • Imatinib may affect growth rate in CHILDREN and teenagers in some cases. They may need regular growth checks while they take imatinib.
  • Imatinib should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 1 year old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Imatinib may cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are taking it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of taking imatinib while you are pregnant. Imatinib is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking imatinib.

Possible side effects of imatinib:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Anxiety; constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; dry skin; gas; hair loss; headache; increased tear production; joint pain; mild loss of appetite; mild muscle cramps or pain; mild stomach pain; nausea; nose and throat irritation; stomach cramps or upset; stuffy or runny nose; sweating (eg, night sweats); taste changes; tiredness; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, bloody, or tarry stools; bone pain; burning, numbness, or tingling; change in the amount of urine produced; chest pain; chills, fever, or persistent sore throat; confusion; depression; fast or irregular heartbeat; mouth pain, sores, or swelling; muscle pain, weakness, or cramping; one-sided weakness; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe or persistent headache; severe or persistent stomach pain; severe or persistent tiredness or weakness; shortness of breath; slurred speech; sudden, unusual weight gain; swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or around the eyes; symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite, severe stomach pain, yellowing of the eyes or skin); trouble swallowing or talking; unusual bruising or bleeding; vision problems (eg, blurred vision); vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include diarrhea; fever, chills, or sore throat; headache; loss of appetite; muscle pain or spasms; nausea; rash; stomach pain; swelling; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomiting.

Proper storage of imatinib:

Store imatinib at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep imatinib out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about imatinib, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Imatinib is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take imatinib or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about imatinib. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to imatinib. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using imatinib.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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