What is this medicine?
IMATINIB interferes with the growth of some cancer cells.
Imatinib is used to treat certain types of leukemia (blood cancer), bone marrow disorders, and skin cancer, or certain tumors of the stomach and digestive system.
Imatinib may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should my health care professional know before I take this medicine?
You should not use Imatinib if you are allergic to imatinib.
To make sure Imatinib is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- liver disease;
- kidney disease;
- underactive thyroid, recent or upcoming thyroid surgery;
- heart disease, congestive heart failure;
- history of stomach ulcer or bleeding; or
- if you are receiving chemotherapy.
FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use Imatinib if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
How should I take this medicine?
Take Imatinib exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take this medicine with a large glass of water.
You may dissolve the Imatinib tablet in water or apple juice to make swallowing easier.
Imatinib should be taken with a meal. Do not take Imatinib on an empty stomach.
Imatinib can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.
Store Imatinib at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What may interact with this medicine?
Many drugs can interact with Imatinib. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your medications and any you start or stop using during treatment with Imatinib, especially:
- acetaminophen (Tylenol);
- St. John’s wort;
- an antibiotic–clarithromycin, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, erythromycin, metronidazole, nafcillin, norfloxacin, rifabutin, rifampin, rifapentine, tetracycline;
- antifungal medication–clotrimazole, fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole;
- an antidepressant–desipramine, nefazodone, sertraline;
- a blood thinner such as warfarin, Coumadin;
- heart or blood pressure medication–amiodarone, diltiazem, dronedarone, lidocaine, nicardipine, quinidine, verapamil;
- hepatitis C medications–boceprevir, telaprevir;
- HIV/AIDS medication–atazanavir, delavirdine, darunavir when given with ritonavir, efavirenz, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, saquinavir; or
- seizure medication–carbamazepine, fosphenytoin, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone.
This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with Imatinib. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.
What should I watch for while taking this medicine?
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.
Imatinib can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Imatinib and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products while taking this medicine.
What side effects may I notice from taking this medicine?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Imatinib: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
- easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
- swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath (even with mild exertion);
- nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
- lower back pain, blood in your urine, little or no urinating;
- numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth;
- muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction, overactive reflexes;
- fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, confusion, fainting; or
- severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common Imatinib side effects may include:
- mild nausea or stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea;
- joint or muscle pain; or
- headache, feeling tired.