What is this medication?
IMATINIB (i MAT in ib) is a medicine that targets proteins in cancer cells and stops the cancer cells from growing. It is used to treat certain leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, and other cancers. It is also used to treat specific digestive tract tumors called GISTs.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Gleevec
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
•infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
•an unusual or allergic reaction to imatinib, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
•pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medicine by mouth with a full glass of water. Take it with food to decrease the chance of it upsetting your stomach. Do not take with grapefruit juice. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
If you have difficulty swallowing the tablets, let your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional know. They can help you with advice.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 1 year for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose and skip your missed dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
•antiviral medicines for HIV or AIDS
•ergot alkaloids like dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine
•grapefruit or grapefruit juice
•medicines for cholesterol like atorvastatin lovastatin, simvastatin
•medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
•medicines for fungal infections like ketoconazole and itraconazole
•medicines for irregular heart beat like amiodarone, bepridil, dofetilide, encainide, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine
•medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
•medicines for sleep
•NSAIDS, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
•St. John's wort
Talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood tests while on this medicine. Report any new symptoms promptly.
This medicine may cause serious skin reactions. They can happen weeks to months after starting the medicine. Contact your health care provider right away if you notice fevers or flu-like symptoms with a rash. The rash may be red or purple and then turn into blisters or peeling of the skin. Or, you might notice a red rash with swelling of the face, lips or lymph nodes in your neck or under your arms.
Call your doctor or health care provider for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care provider if you notice any unusual bleeding.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine or for 14 days after stopping it. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine or for 1 month after stopping it.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- breathing problems
- changes in vision
- dark urine
- general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms
- light-colored stools
- loss of appetite
- low blood counts - this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
- mouth sores
- rash, fever, and swollen lymph nodes
- redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- right upper belly pain
- signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine, nosebleeds
- signs of decreased red blood cells - unusually weak or tired, fainting spells, lightheadedness
- signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
- swelling of the legs or ankles
- trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- decreased appetite
- difficulty sleeping
- joint pain
- muscle cramps or pain
- upset stomach
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of reach of children.
Store tablets at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from moisture. Keep tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
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