Generic Name: Nilotinib (nye LOE ti nib)
Brand Name: Tasigna
Medically reviewed on September 5, 2018
- This medicine may cause a prolonged QT interval (a type of heartbeat that is not normal). If this happens, the chance of other unsafe and sometimes deadly abnormal heartbeats may be raised. Sudden deaths have happened in people taking nilotinib. Do not take nilotinib if you have low potassium or magnesium levels or a history of long QT on ECG. Your heartbeat will be watched often with an ECG. Talk with your doctor.
- Do not take nilotinib if you are taking certain other drugs, including any drugs that can raise the chance of a prolonged QT interval (a type of heartbeat that is not normal). There are many drugs that interact with nilotinib. Talk with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure it is safe to take nilotinib with all of your drugs.
- Take nilotinib on an empty stomach. Take 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
Uses of Nilotinib:
- It is used to treat leukemia.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Nilotinib?
- If you have an allergy to nilotinib or any other part of nilotinib.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you cannot have galactose or you have lactase deficiency, lactose intolerance, or glucose-galactose malabsorption.
- If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with nilotinib, like some other drugs used for HIV or certain drugs used for seizures, infection, or stomach or bowel problems. There are many drugs that must not be taken with this drug.
- If you are taking St. John's wort. Do not take St. John's wort with nilotinib. This medicine may not work as well.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take nilotinib and for 2 weeks after your last dose.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with nilotinib.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take nilotinib with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Nilotinib?
For all patients taking nilotinib:
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take nilotinib. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly bleeding problems have happened with nilotinib. Talk with the doctor.
- If you have upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools (diarrhea), or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- This medicine may lower blood flow to the heart, brain, or leg. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
- Patients with cancer who take nilotinib may be at a greater risk of getting a bad health problem called tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your doctor right away if you have a fast heartbeat or a heartbeat that does not feel normal; any passing out; trouble passing urine; muscle weakness or cramps; upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools, or not able to eat; or feel sluggish.
- Liver problems have happened. Call your doctor right away if you get signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with nilotinib may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- If you need to take an antacid or a drug like famotidine or ranitidine, talk with your doctor about how to take it while taking nilotinib.
- Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice.
- If you are in remission and your doctor tells you to stop taking nilotinib, you may have more muscle and bone signs than before you stopped treatment. These signs include arm, leg, bone, spine, muscle, or joint pain. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- If you are able to get pregnant, a pregnancy test will be done to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting nilotinib. Talk with your doctor.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking nilotinib and for at least 2 weeks after stopping the drug.
- If you get pregnant while taking nilotinib or within 2 weeks after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
- Use with care in children. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may affect growth in children and teens in some cases. They may need regular growth checks. Talk with the doctor.
- As your child grows, your child's doctor may change your child's dose. Give nilotinib as your child's doctor has told you.
How is this medicine (Nilotinib) best taken?
Use nilotinib as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take on an empty stomach. Take 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
- Take with a full glass of water.
- Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
- Capsule may be opened and contents sprinkled on 1 teaspoon of applesauce. Swallow within 15 minutes after mixing. Do not store for future use.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
- Keep taking nilotinib as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
- Signs of electrolyte problems like mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, seizures, not hungry, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Chest pain or pressure, a fast heartbeat, or passing out.
- A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
- Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, or swelling in the arms or legs.
- Change in eyesight.
- Very bad headache.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Leg pain, leg feels cold, or change in skin color of the leg.
What are some other side effects of Nilotinib?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Belly pain.
- Not hungry.
- Hard stools (constipation).
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Muscle or joint pain.
- Back pain.
- Hair loss.
- Not able to sleep.
- Signs of a common cold.
- Nose and throat irritation.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Night sweats.
- Dry skin.
- Muscle spasm.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Nilotinib?
- Store at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time nilotinib is refilled. If you have any questions about nilotinib, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about nilotinib
- Nilotinib Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- En Español
- 26 Reviews
- Drug class: BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors
Other brands: Tasigna