Skip Navigation
Mortar_and_pestel

Regimen Information

For Gleevec, including Side Effects

Gleevec

Drugs in this Regimen:

For the treatment of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

How Gleevec chemotherapy is given and possible side effects.

Gleevec for the treatment of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Gleevec (Imatinib) is a drug used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia.

MOST COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF GLEEVEC

  • Risk of Infection

  • Rash

  • Nausea & Vomiting

  • Fluid Retention

For more information, see the 'Expert Resources' tab below.

Community Responses

Often, the most helpful information regarding treatment side effects comes not from clinical brochures, but rather from other patients like you. We've collected the most helpful community resources to help you prepare for the side effects and coping tips for your chemotherapy regimen.

What side effects did you experience while on this medication?

The following have been voted the 3 most helpful responses to this question.

Hi, I'm utahrose

I had nausea real bad in the beginning. The label says to take Gleevec with food, but I found that if I waited 30 – 60 minutes after eating, I didn’t feel as sick to my stomach. I also take the medicine after dinner, close to bedtime, and that helps too. I still have diarrhea, but that is a small price to pay for remaining in remission.

  • Wed Jan 22, 2014
Hi, I'm Doug

I’ve had 3 years on Gleevec for GIST. I started at 400mg daily and after a year my Oncologist reduced the dosage to 300mg in order to reduce the frequency and severity of the side effects. I continue to experience fatigue, night sweats, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps – in short all the usual suspects – fortunately not all together! Fatigue is the worst, but knowing that, I try to get plenty of rest and know that in spite of everything, I can function normally and my lifestyle is not significantly impacted.

  • Sat Apr 13, 2013
I'm Scott, and I'm a survivor of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

I was diagnosed in August 2015 after a routine office visit for ankle/calf edema and shortness of breath. I started Gleevac and by y first blood test ( 2 weeks ) my WBC and other counts had returned to normal. But, I began to put on weight in my legs especially my thighs. Also, my edema worsened ad was a real struggle even causing my scrotum to swell several fold,

I failed to achieve -1 oder of magnitude reduction at 6 months and I’ve been changed to Dasatinib ( Sprycell ) 140mg. Right out of the gate I had crazy eye bleeds and treatment stopped till clear ( 2 weeks ) and am now doing ok on 70mg per night.

My main complaint is low energy and edema with weight gain in my upper legs and thighs.

  • Sun May 22, 2016
Hi, I'm Doug

I’ve had 3 years on Gleevec for GIST. I started at 400mg daily and after a year my Oncologist reduced the dosage to 300mg in order to reduce the frequency and severity of the side effects. I continue to experience fatigue, night sweats, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps – in short all the usual suspects – fortunately not all together! Fatigue is the worst, but knowing that, I try to get plenty of rest and know that in spite of everything, I can function normally and my lifestyle is not significantly impacted.

  • Sat Apr 13, 2013
I'm Kelli, and I'm a survivor of Leukemia

Just started on Gleevec in late May. A few weeks ago, I was in the hospital from a side effect but I think I may have caught a virus with it, because I’ve had no other problems. I was feeling very queezy one night, tried sleeping it off, still felt the same way the next day. Tried getting up and was very dizzy and fell at home, threw up,etc. The night before i also experienced off and on chills. I seemed to get worse in the hospital instead of better. Because of falling hurt my lower back and going to physical therapy for that. Since being back on my meds after that episode, I’ve had no other dizziness, just bad rash, itch, and some constipation. The Gleevec works as my last Dr. appointment my white blood cell count was down to normal, but I have to keep taking the Gleevec to keep it that way. I had to lay off the Gleevec a week from in the hospital and my white blood counts peeked back up, but went back down once I continued the Gleevec. Over-all it is the best med for CML.

  • Sun Jun 23, 2013
Hi, I'm utahrose

I had nausea real bad in the beginning. The label says to take Gleevec with food, but I found that if I waited 30 – 60 minutes after eating, I didn’t feel as sick to my stomach. I also take the medicine after dinner, close to bedtime, and that helps too. I still have diarrhea, but that is a small price to pay for remaining in remission.

  • Wed Jan 22, 2014
I'm Rachael, and I'm a survivor of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

I’ve been on Gleevec for almost three months to treat CML. Side effects in the beginning were minor. Mostly nausea and fatigue. In the past month I have started having a lot of bone pain, still the occasional nausea (hit and miss – some nights it’s terrible – other times I don’t get it at all), fatigue, low grade fever (around 99.1) for a couple of hours a day, fluid retention (swelling in my face, abdomen, arms and thighs), feeling cold, and weight gain.

  • Wed Jun 25, 2014
I'm Maria, and I support someone with cancer

Thanks for sharing guys. A relative has CML for almost 3 years and your sharing help us cope and understand his symptoms as he doesn’t always explain what he’s going through.

  • Sun Aug 31, 2014
I'm Scott, and I'm a survivor of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

I was diagnosed in August 2015 after a routine office visit for ankle/calf edema and shortness of breath. I started Gleevac and by y first blood test ( 2 weeks ) my WBC and other counts had returned to normal. But, I began to put on weight in my legs especially my thighs. Also, my edema worsened ad was a real struggle even causing my scrotum to swell several fold,

I failed to achieve -1 oder of magnitude reduction at 6 months and I’ve been changed to Dasatinib ( Sprycell ) 140mg. Right out of the gate I had crazy eye bleeds and treatment stopped till clear ( 2 weeks ) and am now doing ok on 70mg per night.

My main complaint is low energy and edema with weight gain in my upper legs and thighs.

  • Sun May 22, 2016
Hi, I'm Brian

I have been taking 400mg Imatinib for a long time. After a few years I started to suffer from nausea shortly after taking the tablets. An endoscopy showed that i had stomach ulcers. I solved these issues by taking an over-the-counter drug called Omeprazole (Omesec) to get rid of the ulcers, which i am convinced were caused by Imatinib tablets. The nausea and ulcers are no longer a problem because now i always dissolve each Imatinib tablet in a glass of water and drink after a meal. Tablets normally take about 45 minutes to dissolve in water. Incidentally, this method of taking Imatinib is given in the package leaflet in each box.

  • Fri Jul 21, 2017

This discussion needs your voice!

What were the specific side effects that you experienced while taking this medication? How did you manage them?

What coping tips would you give to new patients on this regimen?

There are currently no answers to this question. Be the first to answer!

This discussion needs your voice!

What do you wish you had known before taking this medication? What information would you like to pass on to patients who are beginning this medication?

Treatment Overview

This chemotherapy regimen is commonly used to treat:

Other chemotherapy regimens for the treatment of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia:

See Expert Resources

The Navigating Care Library includes articles about cancer, chemotherapy regimens and drugs from the the National Cancer Institute and other experts.

Specific Facts for Your Diagnosis

Learn about treatment options and managing side effects from experts.

Get Support on Your Cancer Journey

Connect with thousands of members with your diagnosis and learn from their experiences.