GENERIC NAME: nilotinib
BRAND NAME: Tasigna
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Nilotinib is an oral medication used for treating chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Nilotinib is classified as a kinase inhibitor. Kinase inhibitors include dasatinib (Sprycel), erlotinib (Tarceva), gefitinib (Iressa), imatinib (Gleevec), pazopanib (Votrient), sunitinib (Sutent), and vandetanib (Caprelsa). Kinase inhibitors prevent the growth of tumors by reducing the action of proteins that control cell division, growth and survival. These proteins are usually present in larger quantities or are more active in cancer cells. By reducing the activity of these proteins, growth and survival of cancer cells are reduced. The FDA approved nilotinib in October 2007.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Nilotinib is used for the treatment of adults with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML) or treatment of Ph+ CML after intolerance or failure of therapy that included imatinib.
SIDE EFFECTS: Common side effects include:
- stomach pain,
- weight changes,
- nausea and vomiting,
- swelling of arms and legs,
- hair loss,
- runny or stuffy nose, and
- muscle pain.
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