Medical symbolDirectory of Drugs: Prescription symbol Gleevec - Imatinib Mesylate




What is Gleevec used for?  

Gleevec is used in adults for the treatment of:

  • gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST)
  • dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP)
  • myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative diseases (MDS/MPD) associated with PDGFR (platelet-derived growth factor receptor) gene rearrangements
  • aggressive systemic mastocytosis (ASM)
  • hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) and/or chronic eosinophilic leukemia (CEL)

Gleevec is used in adults and children for the treatment of:

  • Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML)

In patients being treated for Ph+ CML or GIST, it is not known at this time 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 healthcare provider?

Tell your doctor if you:

  • experience swelling or weight gain from water retention.
  • have a history of liver or kidney disease
  • have a history of heart disease

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 healthcare 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. John’s 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 healthcare 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, heart failure, and the potential for bleeding (hemorrhage), especially in the elderly.

Date Approved:  January 17, 2002; Date Updated: November 3, 2006



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