Nilotinib (Tasigna®)

Nilotinib is an oral medication, and approved to target the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase protein. It can be used as a first treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) or as an alternative for patients who experience side effects from imatinib or because imatinib isn’t working. Nilotinib can be used to treat Chronic, Accelerated, and Blast Phase CML.

Side Effects

Common Side Effects:

These side effects are common when patients start therapy but are usually mild to moderate. Most of these side effects improve over time but it is important to tell your doctor about any side effects you may be experiencing. Supportive medications can help with symptoms from these side effects and often, the TKI doses do not need to be modified.

  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle pain/aches
  • Edema (fluid buildup) around the eyes, feet, or abdomen
  • Pruritus (itchy skin) and skin rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Decreased white blood cell and platelet counts

Potential Serious side effects:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm. Nilotinib can change your heart rhythm. Patients treated with Nilotinib will have electrocardiograms (EKGs) performed before and during Nilotinib treatment.
  • Rarely, patients taking nilotinib can develop pancreas irritation or pancreatitis.

Additional Information:

Richard T. Silver MD Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Center 525 East 70th St., Starr Pavillion, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10021