Gleevec is used for the treatment of different types of cancers or bone marrow conditions, either alone or in combination with other drugs. It is an antineoplastic drug, which means that it stops the groeth of cancer cells.
Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL)
Myeloproliferative diseases (MPD)
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
This product is available in the following dosage forms:
2 What to Know Before using
Before using Gleevec, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it.
Every medicine has potential side effects. So, the benefits of a drug should always be weighed against its associated risks. Your doctor will consider these risks before prescribing the drug and will inform you about them. Following factors should be considered before taking this drug:
Allergies: If you have had an allergic reaction to this drug in the past, inform your doctor. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any other drugs or food products.
Age specific problems: The data regarding the effects of this medicine specific to the pediatric age group is not yet available. Its safety and efficacy has not been established in children younger than 12 years of age.
The studies specific to the geriatric age group have not been carried out, that would limit the use of this drug in old age group.
Pregnancy: Regarding the safety of usage of this drug during pregnancy, it comes under “D” category, which means that clinical trials on animals have revealed harmful effects to the developing fetus.
Drug Interactions: Certain drugs should not be used together because they can interact inside the body which can have a harmful effect. On the other hand certain drugs are allowed to be used together. So, you should tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. If there is a chance of interaction between those two drugs, the doctor may change the dose or may prescribe an alternative drug.
This drug should be used cautiously with following drugs:
Furthermore, certain medications should not be taken with alcohol or tobacco, which may also result in harmful interactions. Ask your doctor about the concurrent use of this drug along with alcohol or tobacco.
You should also inform your doctor about any other medical condition you may be suffering from, especially:
To use Gleevec properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.
This drug should be taken with plenty of water and food in order to prevent stomach upset. You swallow the whole tablet without breaking or crushing it. Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while you are taking this drug.
Grape fruit or grapefruit juice can increase the blood levels of this drug. To avoid adverse effects, this drug should be used exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not overuse or misuse this drug and do not use it longer than the recommended time. Read all the instructions mentioned in the medication guide.
Do not miss any dose. The dose of this drug varies according to the condition of each person. The number of doses per day, the time interval between the doses and the length of time you have to take the medicine depends on your condition individually and all these factors should only be determined by your healthcare provider.
Follow each and every instruction of your doctor and also read the label carefully. In case you miss one dose of this drug, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your subsequent dose, you can then skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.
Storage: This medicine should be stored at room temperature within a closed container, away from heat, direct light and moisture. Keep this drug out of the reach of children. Do not store expired or outdated medicines or the medicine no longer needed.
4 Precautions to Take
Before using Gleevec, there are some precautions you must take.
Serious skin reactions can occur during treatment with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.
Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use a highly effective form of birth control (especially if you are a sexually active female patient) to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Some serious side effects such as black, tarry stools, severe stomach pain, or vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds can occur during treatment with this medicine
Regular follow-up is necessary during and after the treatment. It is important to allow your doctor to monitor your progress and to make sure that there aren’t any side effects from the medication. Contact your doctor if your symptoms have not improved even after taking the full course of treatment.
The doctor may order some blood tests in order to determine the blood levels of the drug. Avoid taking any other medicine unless thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Always ask your doctor before using any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medicine.
5 Potential Side Effects
As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Gleevec. Although these side effects may occur only in a handful of patients but if they do occur, contact your physician immediately.
This medication is associated with following side effects:
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