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- What is nilotinib, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for nilotinib?
- Is nilotinib available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for nilotinib?
- What are the side effects of nilotinib?
- What is the dosage for nilotinib?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with nilotinib?
- Is nilotinib safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about nilotinib?
What is nilotinib, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.
What are the side effects of nilotinib?
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.
Serious side effects include
- fever associated with reduced white blood cells,
- reduced platelets and red blood cell counts,
- bleeding in the brain,
- reduced liver function,
- and increased or reduced thyroid function.
Other important side effects caused by Nilotinib include:
- low phosphate (hypophosphatemia),
- low potassium (hypokalemia),
- high potassium (hyperkalemia),
- low calcium (hypocalcemia),
- and low sodium (hyponatremia) concentrations in the blood.
Nilotinib may cause a type of abnormal heart rhythm called prolongation of QT interval. Prolongation of the QT interval may lead to sudden death. ECGs should be obtained prior to starting nilotinib, 7 days after start of treatment, after dose adjustments, and as needed thereafter. Low potassium or low magnesium may increase the risk of QT prolongation. Therefore, low potassium and low magnesium should be corrected prior to starting treatment. Food and/or drugs that reduce break down of nilotinib in the liver and/or medicinal products that prolong QT interval may increase the risk of QT prolongation and should not be combined with nilotinib.
What is the dosage for nilotinib?
The recommended dose range is 300 mg or 400 mg orally twice daily taken 12 hours apart. Each capsule should be swallowed whole with water or sprinkle contents of capsule on one teaspoon of applesauce. Food increases the blood concentration of nilotinib. Therefore, nilotinib should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 2 hours after eating any food and individuals should wait one hour after taking nilotinib before eating any food.
Which drugs or supplements interact with nilotinib?
The blood concentration of nilotinib may be increased by several drugs that reduce its break down by the liver. Examples include amiodarone (Cordarone), disopyramide, procainamide, quinidine, and sotalol. Increased blood concentrations of nilotinib may increase the occurrence of adverse effects.
Certain drugs decrease the concentration of nilotinib resulting in decreased blood levels and possibly reduced effect. Examples include dexamethasone, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, rifampin, rifabutin, rifapentin, phenytoin, and St John's Wort.
Food increases the blood concentration of nilotinib. Therefore, nilotinib should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 2 hours after eating any food. Individuals should wait one hour after taking nilotinib before eating any food.
Is nilotinib safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Nilotinib is harmful to the fetus and should not be used during pregnancy.
It is not known whether nilotinib is excreted in human milk. Some related drugs are excreted in breast milk. To avoid any risk to the infant, nursing mothers should consider discontinuing nursing or nilotinib.
What else should I know about nilotinib?
What preparations of nilotinib are available?
Capsules: 150 and 200 mg
How should I keep nilotinib stored?
Nilotinib should be stored nilotinib at room temperature between 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F).
Nilotinib (Tasigna) is a kinase inhibitor prescribed for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing information, and warnings and precautions should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
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