Gleevac Side Effects

Gleevec (imatinib) interferes with the growth of some cancer cells.

Gleevec is used to treat a certain types of leukemia (blood cancer) such as Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). It is also used to treat certain tumors of the stomach and digestive system.

Do not use Gleevec if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

Before using Gleevec, tell your doctor if you have liver disease, kidney disease, underactive thyroid, congestive heart failure, a history of stomach ulcer or bleeding, or if you are receiving chemotherapy.

Take this medicine with a large glass of water. Gleevec should be taken with a meal. Do not take the medicine on an empty stomach.

If you miss a dose, take the medicine as soon as you remember, making sure you also eat a meal and drink a large glass of water. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next meal. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

To be sure Gleevec is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested often. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Gleevec: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath (even with mild exertion);
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
  • lower back pain, blood in your urine;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth;
  • muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction, overactive reflexes;
  • fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, feeling short of breath, confusion, fainting; or
  • severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Less serious Gleevec side effects may include:

  • mild nausea or stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • muscle cramps;
  • joint or muscle pain;
  • headache, feeling tired; or
  • stuffy nose, sinus pain.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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