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Generic Name: bosutinib (boe SUE tin ib)
Brand Names: Bosulif

Medically reviewed by P. Thornton, DipPharm Last updated on Dec 11, 2018.

What is Bosulif?

Bosulif (bosutinib) interferes with the growth of some cancer cells.

Bosulif is used in adults to treat a type of blood cancer called Philadelphia-chromosome positive chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Bosulif is usually given after other treatments have failed.

Important information

Do not use Bosulif if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.

Take Bosulif with food.

Do not break or crush a Bosulif tablet. The medicine from a crushed or broken pill can be dangerous if it gets on your skin. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to safely handle and dispose of a broken tablet.

Stop using Bosulif and call your doctor at once if you have fever, easy bruising or bleeding, shortness of breath, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), swelling or rapid weight gain, blood in your stools, or severe and ongoing vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Bosulif if you are allergic to bosutinib.

To make sure Bosulif is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • heart disease; or

  • asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other breathing disorder.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

Do not use Bosulif if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment. Use effective birth control while you are using this medication and for at least 1 month after your last dose.

You should not breast-feed while using this medicine and for at least 1 month after your last dose.

How should I take Bosulif?

Bosulif is usually taken once per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take with food.

Do not break or crush a Bosulif tablet. The medicine from a crushed or broken pill can be dangerous if it gets on your skin. If this occurs, wash your skin with soap and water. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to safely handle and dispose of a broken tablet.

Bosulif can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

You should not stop using Bosulif without your doctor's advice.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Bosulif dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia:

500 mg orally once a day with food
Duration of therapy: Until disease progression or patient intolerance

Comments: If a dose is missed beyond 12 hours, the patient should skip the dose and take the usual prescribed dose on the following day.

Use: Treatment of adult patients with chronic, accelerated, or blast phase Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) with resistance or intolerance to prior therapy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If you are more than 12 hours late, skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Bosulif?

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with bosutinib and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products while taking Bosulif.

This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Bosulif side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Bosulif: hives, itching; dizziness; back pain, joint pain; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Bosulif and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe or ongoing nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea;

  • blood in your stools;

  • urinating more or less than usual;

  • swelling in your hands or feet, rapid weight gain;

  • feeling light-headed or short of breath;

  • low blood cell counts - fever, chills, tiredness, flu-like symptoms, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet;

  • liver problems- upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • swelling or fluid build-up in the lungs - anxiety, sweating, pain when you breathe, feeling short of breath while lying down, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus, chest pain, fast or uneven heart rate.

Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.

Common Bosulif side effects may include:

  • headache, feeling tired;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;

  • fever, cough;

  • swelling;

  • rash; or

  • pale skin, bruising or bleeding.

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 other drugs will affect Bosulif?

Some medicines can make bosutinib much less effective when taken at the same time. If you take an antacid or stomach acid reducer (Zantac, Prilosec, and others), take your bosutinib dose 2 hours before or 2 hours after you take the other medicine.

Many drugs can interact with bosutinib. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • an antibiotic or antifungal medicine;

  • an antidepressant;

  • antiviral medicine to treat hepatitis C or HIV/AIDS;

  • heart or blood pressure medicine; or

  • other cancer medicines.

This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with bosutinib. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Bosulif only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.