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All about: Gleevec

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Generic Name: imatinib (oral) (im MA ta nib)
Brand Names: Gleevec

What is imatinib?

Imatinib interferes with the growth of some cancer cells.

Imatinib is used to treat a type of blood cancer called Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). It is also used to treat certain tumors of the stomach and digestive system.

Imatinib may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about imatinib?

Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could cause harm to the unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have liver disease, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, or a history of stomach ulcer or bleeding.

Take this medicine with a large glass of water. Imatinib should be taken with a meal. Do not take the medicine on an empty stomach.

If you miss a dose, take the medicine as soon as you remember, making sure you also eat a meal and drink a large glass of water. If it is almost time for your next meal, skip the missed dose and take the medicine when you eat your next meal. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking imatinib?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to imatinib.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • congestive heart failure; or

  • a history of stomach ulcer or bleeding.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use imatinib, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use imatinib without your doctor's consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication. It is not known whether imatinib passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give this medication to anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take imatinib?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take this medicine with a large glass of water. Imatinib should be taken with a meal.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store imatinib at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, making sure you also eat a meal and drink a large glass of water. If it is almost time for your next meal, skip the missed dose and take the medicine when you eat your next meal. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of an imatinib overdose may include severe muscle cramps.

What should I avoid while taking imatinib?

Do not take imatinib on an empty stomach.

Imatinib side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • a red, blistering, peeling skin rash;

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;

  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • sudden, severe headache or pain behind the eyes; or

  • shortness of breath.

Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, gas;

  • muscle or joint pain;

  • skin rash;

  • headache, dizziness;

  • stuffy nose, cough, sore throat;

  • depression, sleep problems (insomnia); or

  • tired feeling.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect imatinib?

Before taking imatinib, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone);

  • cimetidine (Tagamet);

  • ciprofloxacin (Cipro);

  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);

  • dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol);

  • griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Grifulvin, Grisactin);

  • metronidazole (Flagyl, Protostat);

  • pimozide (Orap);

  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifater);

  • St. John's wort;

  • antibiotics such as azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S., Ery-Tab, Erythrocin), itraconazole (Sporanox), or ketoconazole (Nizoral);

  • antidepressants such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), or sertraline (Zoloft);

  • a barbiturate such as amobarbital (Amytal), butabarbital (Butisol), mephobarbital (Mebaral), secobarbital (Seconal), or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton);

  • a calcium channel blocker such as amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Tiazac, Cartia, Cardizem), felodipine (Plendil), nicardipine (Cardene), nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), nimodipine (Nimotop), nisoldipine (Sular), or verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan);

  • cholesterol-lowering medicines such as lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor), pravastatin (Pravachol), fluvastatin (Lescol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), or cerivastatin (Baycol).

  • HIV medication such as nevirapine (Viramune), delavirdine (Rescriptor), efavirenz (Sustiva), indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Invirase), or nelfinavir (Viracept);

  • sedatives such as alprazolam (Xanax) or triazolam (Halcion); or

  • seizure medication such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol) or phenytoin (Dilantin).

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use imatinib or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect imatinib. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about imatinib written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Imatinib is available with a prescription under the brand name Gleevec. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Gleevec 100 mg--orange to grayish orange opaque capsules

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.06. Revision Date: 9/11/06 12:15:35 PM.

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