Gleevec, often known by its generic name Imatinib, is a cancer-treating prescription oral chemotherapeutic drug. It’s used to treat some forms ofâ€Żleukemiaâ€Ż(blood cancer), bone marrow diseases, and skin cancer, among other things. It’s also used to treat some stomach and digestive tract tumors.
Gleevec Mechanism of Action
Gleevec is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
How Does Gleevec Work
Gleevec inhibits (or blocks) tyrosine kinases, which are a type of enzyme found in the body. Many cell activities rely on tyrosine kinase enzymes, including cell communication, growth, and division. As a result, Gleevec inhibits or stops the development and growth of some cancer cells.
Certain medicines can target proteins in gastrointestinal stromalâ€Żtumorâ€Ż(GIST) cells that increase cell division and growth. This medication and other targeted medicines like it are typically highly effective in treating GISTs.
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cells have a gene that isn’t seen in normal cells. This gene promotes uncontrolled growth and reproduction of CML cells. The standard therapy for CML is tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as Gleevec.
Before Taking this Medication
If you are allergic to Gleevec, you should not take it. Tell your doctor if youâ€™ve ever had:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Underactive thyroid, or recent thyroid surgery
- Heart disease
- Stomach ulcer or bleeding
If you are pregnant, avoid using this medication. Do not breast-feed a baby while using this medication.
Follow the directions on the label and box of your drug. All of your medical history, allergies, relevant health information, and medications should be disclosed to each of your healthcare providers.
Gleevec Side Effects
- Low red and white blood cell count. This increases your risk of infection, anemia, and bleeding.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling of face, feet, or hands
- Muscle cramps
- Bone pain
- Bleeding problems
- Skin rash
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Poor appetite
- Night sweating
- Nose bleeds
- Fertility problems
This drug might cause serious adverse effects. Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction or a severe skin reaction. If you have any either significant side effects, contact your doctor immediately, or dial 911 or your local emergency number.
These aren’t the only adverse effects that come with it. Other, perhaps more rare side effects should be discussed with your doctor and pharmacist. Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor about any allergies you have, medications you are taking, and any previous medical history you have.
Gleevec Side Effects Long Term
Long-term usage of this medication may cause some adverse effects, observed in clinical studies. Heart issues including congestive heart failure and left-sided heart failure, as well as serious blood diseases, are among them.
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