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Imatinib mesylate oral

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.





Imatinib is used to treat a type of leukemia (chronic myeloid leukemia or CML) as well as certain intestinal tumors (GISTs).

How To Use

Take this medication by mouth with a meal and a large glass of water, usually once or twice daily; or take as directed by your doctor. If you have trouble swallowing the tablets whole, you may dissolve your dose in a glass of water or apple juice. The amount of liquid will vary depending on your dose; consult your doctor or pharmacist for more detailed instructions. Stir the mixture well and drink immediately. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.

Side Effects

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling (especially in the legs or around the eyes), or muscle cramps may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these serious side effects occur: joint/muscle pain, stomach pain, severe weakness. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: trouble breathing, unusual weight gain, easy bruising or bleeding, persistent sore throat or fever. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: yellowing eyes and skin, dark urine, coffee-ground vomit, black stools, one-sided weakness, vision problems, slurred speech, confusion. An allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice any other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


Tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: liver problems, kidney problems, heart disease, lung disease (e.g., asthma, COPD), other cancer or blood disorders, any allergies. Because this medication and/or your medical condition can lower your body's ability to fight an infection, do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose without first washing your hands. Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine. Use caution with sharp objects like safety razors or nail cutters and avoid activities such as contact sports to lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured. This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more details. It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription medication you may use, especially of: other cancer drugs (e.g., tamoxifen), drugs used for HIV (e.g., efavirenz, indinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir), cimetidine, "blood thinners" (e.g., warfarin), azole antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole), macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin), anti-seizure medications (e.g., carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin), corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone), cholesterol-lowering drugs (e.g., "statins" such as atorvastatin, lovastatin), cyclosporine, tacrolimus, cisapride, calcium channel blockers (e.g., diltiazem, verapamil), heart rhythm drugs (e.g., amiodarone, quinidine), certain diabetes medications (e.g., glipizide, pioglitazone, troglitazone), rifampin, St. John's wort, NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen), antidepressants (e.g., desipramine, fluoxetine, paroxetine), beta-blockers (e.g., carvedilol, propranolol). Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.


If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include: yellowing eyes and skin, dark urine, change in amount of urine (severe increase or decrease).


Do not share this medication with others. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood tests, liver function tests) will be performed to monitor your progress.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.


Store at controlled room temperature (77 degrees F or 25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 to 30 degrees C) is permitted.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).