Imatinib is an anti-cancer drug or antineoplastic developed for the treatment of several types of cancers, including bone marrow syndromes.
Imatinib is most notable for shrinking and stopping the growth of chronic or accelerated cancer cells.
It is sometimes prescribed independently or in conjunction with other medications to destroy and deter the multiplication of cancer cells.
The medication is sold and marketed under the U.S. trade name Gleevec, which is available in either tablet or capsule form.
The body produces a type of protein known as KIT, which regulates the multiplication of cells throughout the body. When the body produces excess amounts of KIT, this subsequently results in the acceleration of cancer cell growth and ultimately the development of a tumor.
Imatinib zones in on specific proteins, including KIT, and helps to stop and prevent the development of new cancer cells. In some events, Imatinib has been noted for killing these cells.
Imatinib is beneficial for:
Imatinib may be prescribed for a prolonged period to help stop cancers from reoccurring, including after a surgical removal.
Anti-cancer drugs such as Imatinib may cause serious side effects. Your healthcare provider will complete a full assessment before prescribing this medicine to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks.
The most commonly reported adverse reactions of Imatinib include:
When to call a doctor
If you suspect you have a severe adverse reaction to this medicine, do not hesitate to call 911. Some examples of medical emergencies include:
The dose amounts for Imatinib vary from one patient to another and is based on:
The following tables provide an overview of average Imatinib doses based on the underlying condition being treated.
Do not start, stop, or alter your prescription without first consulting with your healthcare provider.
Imatinib Doses for ASM - Aggressive Systemic Mastocytosis
Imatinib Doses for CEL - Chronic Eosinophilic Leukemia
Imatinib Doses for HES - Hypereosinophilic Syndrome
Imatinib Doses for DFSP - Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans
Imatinib Doses for GIST - Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
Imatinib Doses for MDS - Myelodysplastic Syndrome
Imatinib Doses for MPD - Myeloproliferative Diseases
Imatinib Doses for (Ph+ ALL) - Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Imatinib Doses for (Ph+ CML) - Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
Note: This dosage guide reflects the suggested preliminary amounts. The doctor may adjust the dose based on patients' tolerance and response to the treatment.
Imatinib is usually dispensed as either a 100 mg or 400 mg tablet or capsule. In most cases of treatment, 400 mg is prescribed daily for adult patients.
If the initial dose isn't causing the tumor to shrink, your healthcare provider may increase the dose to 800 mg per day.
Tips for taking oral Imatinib
To improve how this medicine works, follow these tips:
O Mix 100 mg tablets to 2oz (apple juice, water)
O Mix 400 mg tablets to 7oz (apple juice, water)
When diluting the pills or capsules, ensure the mix is fully dissolved and a homogeneous appearance is achieved by mixing it together thoroughly with a spoon. For best results, do not allow the mix to sit for long. Drink immediately.
If you miss a dose of Imatinib, take it as soon as you remember. Nevertheless, do not double dose. If you have any concerns while taking this medicine, call your local pharmacy or healthcare provider for help.
Patients who take Imatinib by mouth in conjunction with certain medicines, foods, or vaccinations may be exposed to negative interactions. Read more below for details on the demonstrated negative interactions with Imatinib:
The concomitant use of oral Imatinib with the following drugs have been proven to increase the chances of adverse reactions:
An adjusted dose is generally required when Imatinib is prescribed in conjunction with any of the medications on this list.
Medical researchers advise against eating or drinking raw grapefruits, grapefruit juices, or any byproducts of grapefruit when undergoing treatment with Imatinib.
The contents of this citrus have been proven to increase blood volume, which subsequently increases the risk of bleeding in patients taking Imatinib.
One of the side effects of using Imatinib is a weakened immune system. As a result, patients are advised to avoid getting any new vaccinations, including the:
Interactions with underlying medical conditions
Tell your doctor if you have any pre-existing medical conditions before commencing treatment with Imatinib. The antineoplastic agent could cause certain conditions to get worse.
As a precaution, peruse this list of medical problems that have been proven to interact negatively with Imatinib:
Do not use any new over-the-counter medicines before first confirming the safety of doing so with your medical provider. This includes non-prescription vitamins, supplements, or herbal products. St. John's Wort is also noteworthy for causing adverse reactions when it is used in combination with Imatinib.
Read the warning label included with your prescription to learn common precautions while undergoing treatment with Imatinib.
Tell your doctor if you have a history of allergies to any medicines you have taken. In particular, you should note any past adverse reactions to foods, dyes, animal products, or preservatives.
Imatinib features potent cancer-fighting ingredients. If you come into contact with a broken or crushed pill, wash your hands immediately and thoroughly with soap and running water.
Imatinib is an effective drug for patients with certain cancer diagnoses. However, if it is used incorrectly, serious side effects may occur. As a result:
1. Take Imatinib exactly as prescribed
2. Do not take more than the outlined dose amount
3. Do not extend the treatment unless your doctor has advised you to do so
4. Do not discontinue the treatment without first consulting with your healthcare provider
Patients should be mindful that even slight adjustments in the dosage can throw the system off balance and cause significant negative side effects to occur.
When using this medicine, plan for follow-up visits with your healthcare provider. Your doctor will monitor your progress and check:
To help doctors better assess progress or drawbacks caused by Imatinib, blood and urine tests may be performed. Make every effort to keep all follow-up visits, including using a calendar to remind you when these are scheduled.
One of the most common side effects of Imatinib is skin irritations. Consult your medical provider immediately if you experience the following signs of a severe skin allergy:
Imatinib may compromise the immune system or the body's ability to fight off new infections. As a result, care should be taken to avoid others who may be sick as well as any person who has been recently immunized.
You should also check with your doctor before getting vaccinated. There is a greater risk of acquiring viruses if you receive a live vaccine.
As an extra layer of safety, patients taking Imatinib are advised to wear a protective face mask when visiting a hospital or clinic, or when encountering other household members who are sick.
Patients who take Imatinib may tentatively experience lower white blood cell or platelet counts. This dual effect increases the risk of bruising and bleeding as blood clotting processes are compromised.
If you bleed, the normal blood clotting processes may not work normally. This puts you at an increased chance of developing serious and potentially fatal health conditions associated with uncontrolled bleeding.
To lower this risk:
In some patients, unusual bleeding has been reported after brushing and flossing. As a result, patients may need to adjust their oral care regime to reduce the risk of bleeding.
Additionally, if you have any upcoming dental procedures, be sure to consult with your primary care provider.
Fluid retention and heart health issues
In some cases, Imatinib may result in heart health issues due to increased fluid retention. Some of the telltale signs of this condition include:
If these symptoms occur, consult your healthcare provider right away.
People with a liver disease should not use Imatinib unless it is completely necessary. This drug may cause delays in waste removal processes and exacerbate or cause liver problems to occur. Some of the signs a liver issue are:
Risk of tumor lysis syndrome
Another risk associated with Imatinib is the development of tumor lysis syndrome, a serious and potentially fatal condition. To lower the risk, supplementary medicines are usually prescribed. Patients should be aware of the warning signs of tumor lysis syndrome, including:
If these symptoms occur, seek medical help right away.
Patients who use Imatinib may feel lightheaded, sleepy, or have sudden changes in vision. Extra precautions must be taken when performing high-risk activities, such as driving or operating heavy machinery.
For example, if you feel sleepy or faint when driving or using a machine, stop the activity and call for help. This warning should be applied to all activities that require you to be alert.
Senior patients taking Imatinib may be more susceptible to the side effects of the drug due to the presence of other preexisting conditions. In medical studies, senior patients using this medicine reported more incidences of sudden weight gain and swelling compared to younger patients taking Imatinib. Be sure to create a full list of all current conditions and provide it to your healthcare provider before commencing treatment with Imatinib.
Imatinib is proven to cause harm to unborn babies. As a result, it is not recommended for use in expecting mothers. As an extra precaution, women who are taking Imatinib are generally prescribed birth control before and after treatment to prevent pregnancy. Post-treatment with a birth control generally lasts for two weeks.
Imatinib may be prescribed in pediatric groups with caution. In most cases, doses are based on patients' age and weight or overall size.
Pediatric patients undergoing treatment with Imatinib should moreover be carefully monitored and assessed for proper development. This medicine is known to stunt growth in children.
Place the medicine in an airtight container and avoid:
The prescription label generally instructs patients to keep the capsules in the original container and to store at a room temperature of 25°C (77°F).
After each use, be sure to reseal the cap tightly.
Do not place this medicine within the reach of children or pets. In the event of an accidental dosage, contact 911 immediately. The American Association of Poison Control Centers is also available by calling 1(800) 222-1222.
Avoid flushing the medicine down drain ways or in a toilet.
If your doctor discontinues treatment with Imatinib, discard any unused portions of this medicine by taking it back to a local pharmacy.
Imatinib is a prescription-only medication used to treat various forms of cancers, including aggressive tumors in the bone marrow.
In the United States, Imatinib is available under the brand name Gleevec. It is prescribed for both adult and pediatric patients for different types of cancers.
Patients are advised to follow all directions outlined on the prescription label to reduce the chances of an adverse reaction to the drug.
This medicine is not suggested for pregnant or nursing mothers as it is proven to cause harm to unborn babies and newborns. To mitigate this risk, women who take Imatinib are advised to use an effective form of birth control while undergoing treatment and for up to two weeks after stopping the drug in order to prevent pregnancy.
Some of the serious side effects of using Imatinib are heart failure, fluid retention, a severe skin reaction, liver issues, uncontrolled bleeding, kidney disorders, and tumor lysis syndrome. If these adverse reactions occur, seek medical help right away.
To reduce the side effects associated with this anticancer medicine, be sure to tell your doctor of any pre-existing conditions, current medications, and your full medical history. Based on this information, your healthcare provider can make an informed decision on which negative drug interactions to avoid, and in some cases, prescribe additional medicines to offset the risks.
While taking Imatinib, do not start taking any new medicines, including over the counter vitamins or herbal supplements before first speaking with your healthcare provider.
Imatinib is known to suppress the immune system. As a result, patients are advised to stay away from others who are ill and avoid any new vaccines until safety is established with a medical provider.
You should use caution when driving or operating heavy machinery, as dizziness and fainting are common side effects of Imatinib. To be safe, arrange for a designated driver to take you to and from work, school, and/or appointments during treatment with Imatinib.
Patients should take this medicine exactly as prescribed and at the suggested times listed. Any slight modifications in dosage have been shown to cause adverse reactions.
Imatinib is usually taken at the same time each day by mouth and with a full glass of water to reduce stomach irritations. Though the rule of thumb is to swallow this medicine whole, some patients who are unable to do so for medical reasons can dissolve the tablet in a measured amount of water or apple juice, then drink it right away.
Imatinib is labeled as a targeted therapy for effectively stopping the reproduction of cancer cells in the body. The response rates have been favorable, though there is no guarantee the medicine will work or stop the reoccurrence of former cancers.
If the preliminary dose proves unsuccessful, healthcare providers may increase the dose by up to a maximum of 800 mg per day for adults. Pediatric prescriptions vary based on the size of the patient.
Patients should also be aware that Imatinib may be given alone or concomitantly with other anti-cancer medicines for best results. Ultimately, a full doctor's assessment is needed to dispense a personalized treatment with Imatinib.