What is this medicine?
IMATINIB (i MAT in ib) is a chemotherapy drug. It targets a specific protein within 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.
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Take it with food to decrease the chance of it upsetting your stomach. 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 2 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
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.
signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
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
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
changes in vision
general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms
loss of appetite
redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
right upper belly pain
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):
muscle cramps or pain
What may interact with this medicine?
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:
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.
Where should I keep my medicine?
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.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
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
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
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.
Call your doctor or health care professional 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 professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.
Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.
Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. 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. Men should inform their doctors if they wish to father a child. This medicine may lower sperm counts. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.