Gleevec is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat adults and children with Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) — a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm — who are newly diagnosed in chronic phase or are in blast crisis, accelerated phase, or chronic phase after failure of interferon alfa therapy. Gleevec is also referred to by its drug name, imatinib mesylate.
Gleevec is a member of the kinase inhibitor class of drugs. It’s believed to work by blocking the expression of a kinase enzyme produced by an abnormal chromosome called the Philadelphia chromosome. This enzyme promotes cancer cell proliferation, and blocking its activity can slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.
How do I take it?
Prescribing information states that Gleevec is taken orally once or twice daily as a tablet, which can be dissolved in water or apple juice for people who have trouble swallowing.
Gleevec should be taken exactly as prescribed by a doctor and not stopped suddenly. If you decide to stop taking Gleevec, consult your doctor for a plan to reduce your dose gradually.
The FDA-approved label for Gleevec lists common side effects including edema (swelling), nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, musculoskeletal pain, diarrhea, rash, fatigue, and abdominal pain.
Rare but serious side effects listed for Gleevec include severe fluid retention, low blood cell counts, heart failure, liver damage, gastrointestinal damage, fetal harm, and a potentially fatal skin reaction known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
Gleevec can cause fetal harm and might not be appropriate for people who are pregnant or have liver impairment. Inform your doctor of any existing medical conditions before taking Gleevec.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Gleevec — Novartis
Gleevec — Drugs.com