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Gleevec, also known by its generic name Imatinib, is a cancer-fighting medication indicated to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) and some other types of cancers. Imatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) that is used to treat certain types of cancer. It works by blocking the action of a certain enzyme (tyrosine kinase) that is involved in the growth and division of cancer cells.
Imatinib can be used alone or together with other medications to treat these conditions. It is the first targeted therapy used to treat certain kinds of leukemia and GISTs, meaning that it specifically targets molecules that are abnormal in these tumors.
Uses and Dosage
Gleevec comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken with a meal and a large glass of water once or twice a day. It is important to take imatinib at around the same time(s) every day and to follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed. Swallow Gleevec tablets whole; do not chew or crush them. If you touch or come into direct contact with a crushed tablet, be sure to wash the area thoroughly.
- The recommended dose of Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) is 400 mg/day for adult patients in chronic phase CML and 600 mg/day for adult patients in accelerated phase or blast crisis.
- For patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), the recommended dose is 400 mg twice daily.
- For dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP), the recommended dose is 400 mg by mouth twice daily. For children, the dosage will be based on the child's height and weight.
Common Side Effects of Imatinib:
- Upset stomach
- Joint pain
- Muscle cramps
- Blurred vision
Serious Side Effects of Imatinib:
- Unusual bleeding
- Severe fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Severe headache
- Persistent vomiting
- Severe blistering skin rashes
- Yellowish skin or eyes
- Unexplained weight gain
- Swelling of the lower extremities
Form and strength
Gleevec (Imatinib) is available in the following forms and strength:
- 100 mg
- 400 mg
- 100 mg
- 400 mg
- Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking imatinib, unless your doctor or pharmacist says it is safe to do so. Grapefruit can increase the risk of side effects associated with imatinib, seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist before consuming any grapefruit products.
- Imatinib can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, and dizziness. Be aware of these side effects and avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how imatinib will affect you. If you experience any of these side effects, Stop driving or operating machinery and to contact your doctor immediately.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to imatinib or any other medications, or any of the ingredients in imatinib tablets. If you have an allergic reaction to imatinib or any of the ingredients in imatinib tablets, you should stop taking the medication and contact your doctor immediately.
- Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed before taking imatinib. Breastfeeding is not recommended while taking imatinib, and for at least one month after your final dose. If you are taking imatinib, talk to your doctor about the best ways to feed your baby.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart, lung, thyroid, kidney, or liver disease before taking imatinib. Certain conditions may increase the risk of side effects, discuss your medical history with your doctor before starting any treatment.
- Imatinib can lead to severe hepatotoxicity, including fatalities. Assess liver function before starting treatment and monitor it monthly or as clinically indicated. Monitor liver function when Imatinib is combined with chemotherapy, as chemotherapy can be associated with liver dysfunction.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What should I avoid while taking Imatinib?
You should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking Imatinib, as it can increase the chance of side effects. You should also avoid operating machinery or driving until you know how this medication affects you.
What should I do if I experience side effects from Gleevec?
If you experience side effects from Gleevec, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. They may be able to adjust your dose or suggest ways to manage the side effects.
How does Gleevec work?
Gleevec works by blocking certain signals in cancer cells that cause them to grow and divide. This helps to stop the growth and spread of cancer cells.
It's important to purchase Gleevec from verified Canadian pharmacy.