Why is this medicine prescribed?
Imatinib is used to treat some types of leukemia (cancer that starts in white blood cells) and other cancers of the blood cells. Imatinib is also used to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST; a type of cancer that grows in the walls of the digestive tract and can spread to other parts of the body). Imatinib is also used to treat lumpy skin fibrosarcoma nodules (a tumor that forms under the top layer of the skin) when the tumor cannot be surgically removed, has spread to other parts of the body, or has returned after surgery. Imatinib belongs to a class of medicines called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of an abnormal protein that signals the proliferation of cancer cells. This helps stop the spread of cancer cells.
How to use this medicine?
Imatinib comes in the form of tablets for oral use. It is usually taken with a meal and a large glass of water once or twice a day. Imatinib should be taken at about the same time each day. Follow the directions on the prescription label and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Imatinib exactly as directed. Do not take it more or less or more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you can’t swallow Imatinib tablets, you can put all the tablets you need for one dose in a glass of water or apple juice. Use 50 milliliters (slightly less than 2 ounces) of fluid for each 100 mg tablet and 100 milliliters (slightly less than 4 ounces) of fluid for each 400 mg tablet.
If your doctor has advised you to take 800 mg imatinib, take two 400 mg tablets. Do not take 8 100 mg tablets. The tablet coating contains iron and you will receive too much iron if you take 8 100 mg tablets.
Your doctor may increase or decrease your imatinib dose during treatment. It depends on how well the medicine works for you and the side effects you feel. Talk to your doctor about how you feel during treatment. Keep taking Imatinib even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Imatinib without consulting your doctor.