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Gleevec Information

Brand Name: Gleevec
Active Ingredient:   imatinib mesylate
Strength(s): 50 mg and 100mg
Dosage Form(s):   Capsules
Company Name:    Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Availability:         Prescription only
*Date Approved by the FDA:   May 10, 2001
*Approval by FDA does not mean that the drug is available for consumers at this time.

What is Gleevec used for?

  Gleevec is used to treat Gleevec is used to treat certain types of cancer including Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), and Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST). 

At this time it is not known whether Gleevec will improve symptoms or help patients live longer.

Special Warnings with Gleevec:

Women of childbearing age should avoid becoming pregnant while being treated with Gleevec.

What should I tell my doctor or health care provider?

Tell your doctor if you experience swelling or weight gain from water retention.

Because Gleevec interacts with certain other medications, review all medications that you are taking with your doctor, including those that you take without a prescription.

Your health care provider may have to adjust your dose or monitor you more closely if you take certain medicines.

Examples of medications that may increase the amount of Gleevec in your blood include:

  • ketoconazole
  • itraconazole
  • erythromycin
  • clarithromycin

Examples of medications that may decrease the amount of Gleevec in your blood include:

  • dexamethasone
  • phenytoin
  • carbamazepine
  • rifampicin
  • phenobarbital
  • St. Johnís Wort

Gleevec may affect other medications so it is important to review all medicines that you take with your doctor.

What are some possible side effects of Gleevec?

(This is NOT a complete list of side effects reported with Gleevec. Your health care provider can discuss with you a more complete list of side effects.)  

Commonly reported side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fluid retention (sometimes severe)
  • Muscle cramps
  • Skin rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Headache

Although some of the serious side effects occur less frequently, severe side effects include severe fluid retention (edema), liver problems, and the potential for bleeding (hemorrhage), especially in the elderly.

For more detailed information about Gleevec, ask your health care provider.

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