Tasigna vs Gleevec - Comparison of Side Effects & Uses

Tasigna

It is the brand name of a drug called nilotinib, that belongs to a group of drugs known as kinase inhibitors.

This cancer medication works by interfering with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat adults with certain types of leukemia, (cancer which is caused by an overproduction of damaged white blood cells).

In the United States, every year over 63,000 people are expected to receive a diagnosis of blood cancer. Common symptoms may include:

  • swollen lymph nodes which typically don’t hurt;
  • fevers or night sweats;
  • bruising easily;
  • pain in the joints or bones;
  • feeling weak;
  • loss of appetite;
  • frequent infections;
  • swelling of the abdomen;
  • weight loss.

The causes of leukemia are not entirely known, but a few factors have been identified which may increase the risk, including:

  • smoking tobacco and secondhand smoking;
  • exposure to high levels of radiation;
  • genetic disorders, like – Down syndrome;
  • a family history of leukemia;
  • blood disorders, like – myelodysplastic syndrome;
  • previous treatment for cancer with radiation or chemotherapy;
  • exposure to chemicals, like – benzene.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 300 mg orally twice a day, about 12 hours apart.

Note – avoid eating anything for at least 2 hours before and 1 hour after you take this medication.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • constipation;
  • low blood cell counts;
  • joint or muscle pain;
  • diarrhea;
  • headaches;
  • vomiting;
  • a sore throat;
  • nausea;
  • feeling tired;
  • temporary hair loss;
  • a cough;
  • skin rash;
  • sneezing;
  • runny or stuffy nose.

Rare side effects may include:

  • feeling short of breath;
  • blood in your urine or stools;
  • upper stomach pain (that may spread to your back);
  • dizziness;
  • chills;
  • a sudden headache;
  • fever (high temperature);
  • unusual weakness;
  • vision problems;
  • rapid weight gain;
  • confusion;
  • feeling restless or irritable;
  • pale skin;
  • hallucinations;
  • mouth sores;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • fast heart rate;
  • dark urine;
  • night sweats;
  • vomiting;
  • muscle weakness or twitching;
  • speech problems;
  • little or no urination;
  • trouble walking;
  • chest pain;
  • leg pain.

Contraindications

Avoid taking this medication if you have:

  • a heart rhythm disorder called long QT syndrome;
  • low blood levels of magnesium or potassium.

AlcoholAlcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication since alcohol use may increase the risk of severe side effects.

Drug InteractionsDrug

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Cymbalta (duloxetine);
  • allopurinol;
  • gabapentin;
  • amlodipine;
  • levothyroxine;
  • aspirin;
  • aptensio xr;
  • metformin;
  • atorvastatin;
  • Norco (acetaminophen/hydrocodone);
  • carvedilol;
  • Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate);
  • furosemide;
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen);
  • ibuprofen;
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine);
  • Lasix (furosemide);
  • Sprycel (dasatinib);
  • lisinopril;
  • prednisone;
  • omeprazole;
  • Lyrica (pregabalin);

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known exactly whether this medication passes into breast milk or if it could negatively affect a nursing infant. Tell your doctor that you are breastfeeding a baby before using this medication.

Do not use this prescription cancer medication if you are pregnant since it could harm the developing baby.

Gleevec

Image credit – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Glivec_400mg.jpg

It is the brand name of a drug called imatinib.

This medication works by affecting tyrosine kinase enzymes. It is the first member of a new class of drugs that act by inhibiting these enzymes.

Uses

It is used to treat skin cancer, bone marrow disorders, and certain types of leukemia (blood cancer).

The term “leukemia” refers to cancers of the white blood cells. Unlike other cancers, leukemia does not produce a tumor, but it results in the overproduction of abnormal white blood cells.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 400 mg or 600 mg once a day or even a dose of 800 mg a day, depending on the patient’s medical condition. The prescribed dose should be administered orally, with a large glass of water or a meal.

Contraindications

To make sure that this prescription cancer medication is safe for you, tell your healthcare professional if you have ever had:

  • heart disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • underactive thyroid;
  • recent or upcoming thyroid surgery;
  • liver disease, particularly hepatitis B;
  • chemotherapy;
  • a stomach ulcer or bleeding;
  • congestive heart failure;
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Side Effects And Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea;
  • muscle pain;
  • vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • feeling tired;
  • skin rash;
  • stomach pain.

Less common side effects may include:

  • pounding heartbeat;
  • sudden weight gain;
  • excessive tiredness;
  • swelling around the eyes;
  • fever;
  • chest pain;
  • yellowing of the eyes or skin;
  • swelling of the ankles, feet, hands, or lower legs;
  • blood in the stool;
  • increased urination, particularly at night;
  • shortness of breath;
  • blistering, peeling, or shedding skin;
  • a sore throat;
  • unusual bruising;
  • abdominal pain;
  • chills;
  • coughing up bloody mucus.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Cymbalta (duloxetine);
  • Advil (ibuprofen);
  • hydrochlorothiazide;
  • allopurinol;
  • ibuprofen;
  • Lasix (furosemide);
  • levothyroxine;
  • aspirin;
  • metformin;
  • concerta;
  • Aspirin Low Strength (aspirin);
  • Paracetamol (acetaminophen);
  • atorvastatin;
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen);
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine);
  • Zantac (ranitidine);
  • furosemide;
  • Zofran (ondansetron);
  • gabapentin;
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine);
  • lisinopril;
  • omeprazole;
  • metoprolol;
  • Nexium (esomeprazole);
  • Metoprolol Succinate ER (metoprolol).

Pregnancy & BreastfeedingPregnancy

Do not use this prescription cancer medication if you are pregnant since it could harm the developing baby.

It is not known exactly whether this medication passes into breast milk or if it could negatively affect a nursing infant. Tell your doctor that you are breastfeeding a baby before using this medication.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication since alcohol use may increase the risk of severe side effects.

Bottom Line – Tasigna vs Gleevec

Tasigna (active ingredient – nilotinib) is a prescription cancer medication that is used to treat a chronic myeloid leukemia. It works by interfering with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Gleevec (active ingredient – imatinib) is a prescription cancer medication which is used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia with Philadelphia chromosome-positive. It works by interfering with the growth of some cancer cells.

According to a 2010 study, nilotinib at a dose of either 300 mg or 400 mg two times per day was superior to imatinib in sufferers with newly diagnosed chronic-phase Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia.

Also, according to a 2016 study, more cardiovascular events occurred in people receiving nilotinib vs imatinib. In addition, elevations in blood glucose (sugar) and cholesterol levels were more frequent with nilotinib.

References

http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema/index.jsp?curl=pages/medicines/human/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28218239
https://www.nature.com/articles/leu201763

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