Gleevec

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Question

What are the side effects of Gleevec?

Answer

Gleevec® (imatinib) is an anti-cancer drug approved by the FDA to treat patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). CML is a cancer of the white blood cells and is characterized by the growth of cells in the bone marrow. Early signs of this disease include an elevated white blood cell count in lab tests.

Gleevec® side effects

The most common side effects from taking Gleevec® include nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, rash, diarrhea, and fluid retention. Take Gleevec® with food and a large glass of water to reduce nausea. Since another side effect of Gleevec® is fluid retention, your doctor will weigh you regularly to monitor for signs of fluid retention. Gleevec® may also cause low blood count, and cause elevated liver enzymes. Your doctor will check your blood counts and liver enzymes to monitor for these side effects. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you have cardiac disease or are at risk for cardiac failure.

Read more about chronic myelogenous leukemia in our Health Encyclopedia.

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