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Specialty Drug
IMATINIB is a medicine that targets proteins in cancer cells and stops the cancer cells from growing. It is used to treat certain leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, and other cancers. It is also used to treat specific digestive tract tumors called GISTs. Compare kinase inhibitors.
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Imatinib Side Effects

What should I watch for?

Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood tests while on this medicine. Report any new symptoms promptly.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine or for 14 days after stopping it. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine or for 1 month after stopping it.

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Common and Rare Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Abdominal or stomach pain, cramping, burning, or tenderness

bleeding from wound after surgery

bleeding gums

bleeding problems

bloating or swelling of the face, hands, lower legs, or feet

blood in the urine

bloody eye

bloody nose

blue lips and fingernails

blurred vision

body aches or pain

chest pain or discomfort

chills

clay-colored stools

cough

coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum

coughing up blood

decrease in the amount of urine

decreased appetite

decreased urination

diarrhea

difficult or labored breathing

difficulty with swallowing

dizziness

dry mouth

ear congestion

fever

general feeling of discomfort or illness

headache

inability to speak

increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding

increased thirst

irregular heartbeat

itching or skin rash

joint pain

large, flat, blue, or purplish patches on the skin

loss of appetite

loss of voice

mood changes

muscle aches and pain

muscle cramps

nausea and vomiting

noisy, rattling breathing

nosebleed

numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips

pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones

painful or difficult urination

pale skin

prolonged bleeding from cuts

rapid weight gain

red, black, bloody, or tarry stools

red or dark brown urine

redness of the eye

seizures

shivering

slurred speech

small red or purple spots on the skin

sneezing

sore throat

sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth

stuffy or runny nose

sweating

swelling in the legs and ankles

swollen glands

temporary blindness

tightness in the chest

trouble sleeping

troubled breathing at rest

troubled breathing when moving or walking

unusual bleeding or bruising

unusual tiredness or weakness

vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

weakness in the arm or leg on one side of the body, sudden and severe

yellow eyes or skin

Incidence not known

Anxiety

blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin

change in vision not present before treatment

chest pain, possibly moving to the left arm, neck, or shoulder

confusion

delayed or slow growth in children

irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing

nausea, heartburn, or indigestion, severe and continuing

pain in the bones

red, irritated eyes

red skin lesions, often with a purple center

seeing floaters, veil, or curtain appearing across part of vision

severe abdominal or stomach pain, cramping, or burning

severe constipation

severe vomiting

tenderness, pain, swelling, warmth, skin discoloration, and prominent superficial veins over affected area

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Acid or sour stomach

belching

difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)

difficulty with moving

discouragement

excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines

fear or nervousness

feeling sad or empty

feeling unusually cold

full or bloated feeling

increased bowel movements

irritability

lack or loss of strength

loose stools

loss of interest or pleasure

muscle stiffness

night sweats

passing gas

stomach discomfort, upset, or pain

swollen joints

trouble concentrating

weight loss

Less common

Back pain

bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste

change in taste

watering of the eyes

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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