Brand name: Gleevec®
Other names: Imatinib Mesylate, STI-571
available by prescription only
Indications: Imatinib is used to treat chronic
myelogenous leukemia (also called chronic myeloid leukemia or CML) newly diagnosed that has not responded to
interferon alpha therapy. Imatinib is also used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), a very common group of tumors of the
gastrointestinal tract; and
dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, a rare type of malignant tumor arises under the top layer of the skin. In
addition, Imatinib is used in the treatment of dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans that has spread to other parts
of the body, or has come back after surgery.
may also be prescribed for other medical conditions not mentioned in this article; talk to your doctor or
pharmacist for more information.
Imatinib comes as a
tablet to be taken by mouth
Dosage: Imatinib can be taken by mouth in
dosages of 100 mg or 400 mg. The 100 mg is usually orange in color and round shape; the 400 mg comes in an
orange scored oblong. The dose to be taken must be recommended by an oncologist or a physician having experience
in chemotherapy drugs.
general, the dosage varies depending on your body surface area (BSA), general state of your health, whether you
are taking other drugs or not, and the type of
being treated. Regardless of dosage indicated, it is necessary to take the medication as prescribed by your
health care provider.
of malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumor
(GIST), the usual dose for adults ranges
between 400 mg and 800 mg per day. However, depending on the aggressiveness of the tumor, you can be recommended
to take a higher dose.
have a newly diagnosed chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and you are an adult, your doctor may prescribe you 400
mg of Imatinib to be taken daily. In cases of chronic myeloid leukemia, the daily dose can be 400 mg to 600 mg.
however, if you have an aggressive or advanced myelogenous leukemia, the recommended dose can be 600 mg to 800
mg per day.
an overdose of iron, the 800 mg should be divided into two 400 mg, taken 2 times a day. Imatinib should be taken
by mouth with meals with a full glass of water. Swallow the tablets whole without chewing it.
likely that you experience side effects during the treatment; do not stop or modify the way you are told to take
the medication. Most patients develop side effects when and after a treatment with Imatinib.
Storage: store Imatinib at room temperature (15-25 ° C), away from heat above 40 ° C,
light and moisture. Keep the medication out of
the reach of children. Imatinib and other drugs should not be used beyond
the expiration date printed on the container.
Overdose: Imatinib overdose can cause life
threatening problems. Chemotherapy drugs including Imatinib tend to damage the bone marrow, and lead to a
decrease in white blood cells and platelets, which can cause serious infections in some patients. If you take a
Imatinib overdose, contact your doctor or the poison control center nearest you immediately.
Missing dose: take Imatinib and all medications as
In case you forget to
take a dose, take the missed one as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next
do not double the next dose to recover the missing; it can be dangerous. Contact your doctor or wait to go back to
your regular schedule. This applies not only to Imatinib
but also any other drug.
Mechanism of action (MOA): Imatinib is an anticancer drug belongs
to the family of tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
It works by preventing the development, and selectively inducing cancer cell death.
Interactions: always talk you to your doctor before taking
St. John's wort, vitamins, nutritional supplements and
other prescription drugs when you undergo chemotherapy. Some medicines may affect the curative effects of Imatinib,
or increase the risk of developing side effects. Consult your doctor before taking the following drugs:
(Atenolol, propranolol, metoprolol and others)
channel blockers (Nifedipine, diltiazem, verapamil, amlodipine, felodipine, and others).
Side effects: while attacking
cells, Imatinib also affects
healthy cells, which lead to development of adverse effects in most patients; most common Imatinib side effects include:
cramps and pain
or darkening of the skin or nails
- Bowel disorders such
as gas, diarrhea, indigestion,
constipation and diarrhea.
If the side
effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, contact your doctor if you experience any
of these symptoms:
- blood in
problems such as rash or blisters
of the skin or eyes
of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- fast or
falling asleep or staying asleep
coughing associated with bloody mucus
need to urinate, especially at night
bruising or bleeding
tiredness or weakness.