imatinib (generic name)

It targets a specific protein within cancer cells and stops the cancer cells from growing
(i MAT in ib)
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What is this medicine?

IMATINIB (i MAT in ib) is a chemotherapy drug. It targets a specific protein within cancer cells and stops the cancer cells from growing. It is used to treat certain leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, and other cancers. It is also used to treat specific digestive tract tumors called GISTs.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • bleeding problems
  • infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
  • heart disease
  • heart failure
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • lung disease
  • stomach problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to imatinib, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a full glass of water. Take it with food to decrease the chance of it upsetting your stomach. Do not take with grapefruit juice. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

If you have difficulty swallowing the tablets, let your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional know. They can help you with advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 1 year for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose and skip your missed dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • antiviral medicines for HIV or AIDS
  • bosentan
  • cisapride
  • clarithromycin
  • cyclosporine
  • dexamethasone
  • diltiazem
  • ergot alkaloids like dihydroergotamine, ergonovine, ergotamine, methylergonovine
  • erythromycin
  • grapefruit or grapefruit juice
  • medicines for cholesterol like atorvastatin lovastatin, simvastatin
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • medicines for fungal infections like ketoconazole and itraconazole
  • medicines for irregular heart beat like amiodarone, bepridil, dofetilide, encainide, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine
  • medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
  • medicines for sleep
  • NSAIDS, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • pimozide
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • sildenafil
  • sirolimus
  • St. John's wort
  • tacrolimus
  • vaccines
  • verapamil
  • warfarin

Talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:

  • acetaminophen
  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • ketoprofen
  • naproxen

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood tests while on this medicine. Report any new symptoms promptly.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Men should inform their doctors if they wish to father a child. This medicine may lower sperm counts. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

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Last Updated: February 05, 2013
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