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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Quick Drug Information (DrugNotes) > Imatinib (Oral)

Imatinib (By Mouth)

Imatinib (i-ma-TIN-ib)

Treats a type of leukemia called chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to imatinib, or if you are breastfeeding.

How to Use This Medicine:

Tablet, Capsule

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • If you are switching from the capsule to the tablet form of this medicine, make sure you understand how much medicine to take. One tablet might contain more medicine than one capsule does.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food and a large glass of water.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using amiodarone (Cordarone®), cimetidine, Coumadin®, cyclosporine (Neoral®), dexamethasone (Decadron®), disopyramide (Norpace®), dronabinol (Marinol®), fentanyl, metronidazole (Flagyl®), norfloxacin (Noroxin®), omeprazole (Prilosec®), ondansetron (Zofran®), phenobarbital, quinidine (Quinaglute®, Quinadex®), rifabutin (Mycobutin®), rifampin (Rifamate®, Rifater®), St. John's Wort, tacrolimus (Prograf®), zafirlukast (Accolate®), zileuton (Zyflo®), antibiotics (such as erythromycin, Biaxin®), birth control pills, heart or blood pressure medicine (such as Cardizem®, Tiazac®, Norvasc®, Plendil®, verapamil), cancer medicine (chemotherapy), medicine to treat fungal infections (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole, Sporanox®), medicine to lower cholesterol (such as Lipitor®, Mevacor®, Zocor®), seizure medicine (such as Dilantin®, Tegretol®), sedatives (such as alprazolam, Versed®, Xanax®), medicine for depression (such as Celexa®, Luvox®, Prozac®, Serzone®, Zoloft®), medicines to treat HIV/AIDS (Crixivan®, Norvir®, Sustiva®), or a steroid (such as cortisone, prednisone, Azmacort®, Flonase®, Flovent®, Nasonex®, Vancenase®).
Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have liver disease.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in face or hands, swelling or tingling in the mouth or throat, tightness in chest, trouble breathing
  • Decrease in how much or how often you urinate
  • Dark colored urine, pain or swelling in the upper abdomen, nausea, loss of appetite, weakness
  • Fever, chills, body aches
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Sores or white patches in the mouth or throat
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles, or feet
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Yellow eyes or skin

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.

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