Glivec: discover how chemotherapy treatment works

The Leukemia is a type of cancer which is expressed in blood cells (such as white blood cells, red and white blood cells).

Its main characteristic is the accumulation of cancer cells in the bone marrow that end up spreading and contaminating the blood cells.

There are 12 different types of leukemia, each with its own particularities.

The national Cancer Institute (INCA) estimates that in 2020, about 10,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the country.

Fortunately, these people will be able to count on the help of numerous medications, including Glivec.

What is Glivec Novartis medicine?

Glivec is a reference drug used to treat some types of tumors that settle in cells in the bloodstream.

The active ingredient of this drug is Imatinib Mesylate. Such a drug is contraindicated for people who are allergic to its active ingredient or any other substance in the formula.

The presentation form of Glivec is in coated tablets and is therefore for oral use.

The drug can cause dizziness and drowsiness. Therefore, avoid driving and operating machines if you experience any of these side effects.

Glivec can still have drug interactions (when one drug affects or changes the action of another) with the drugs used to treat:

  • Infections: Ketoconazole , Itraconazole , Erythromycin or Clarithromycin ;
  • Epilepsy: Carbamazepine , Oxcarbazepine , Phenobarbital , Phenytoin , Phosphenytoin or Primidone ;
  • High cholesterol: Simvastatin ;
  • Mental disorders: Benzodiazepines or Pimozide ;
  • Tuberculosis: Rifampicin ;
  • Depression: Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort);
  • Thrombosis: Warfarin ;
  • Immunosuppressants and anti-inflammatory drugs Dexamethasone and Cyclosporine .

Special groups

This remedy can be used by patients who are over 1 year of age to treat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

If the treatment is to fight Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, the drug should only be used in people over 2 years old.

Pregnant women should consider using the medication with a medical professional. That is, the use of Glivec during pregnancy should only be done in extremely necessary situations, since it can be harmful to the baby’s life.

For lactating women, the recommendation is not to breastfeed while using Glivec, maintaining this precaution for up to 15 days after the last dose taken.

What is Glivec used for?

Glivec is a remedy indicated to treat various diseases such as cancer of the blood cells, intestine and stomach. Find out exactly what types of tumors are treated:

Chronic myeloid leukemia

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) is a type of cancer in the blood, in which there is a large production of white cancer cells known as myeloid cells.

Glivec is used to treat pediatric cases (older than 2 years) and adults who have a positive Philadelphia chromosome (Ph +) CML who have been recently diagnosed and have not been treated yet.

Only in adults, it is also useful for those who are in an accelerated or chronic phase and have not responded to treatment with alpha interferon therapy.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer in the blood.

Its main feature is the high production of white cancer cells known as lymphoblasts.

This reference drug is indicated for the treatment of patients older than 1 year who have a positive Philadelphia chromosome ALL (Ph +) that was recently diagnosed, in combination with chemotherapy.

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are also called GIST.

They are tumors present in the intestine and stomach and arise from the uncontrolled growth of the cells that make up the supporting tissues of these same organs.

Glivec is used to treat adults with non-resectable or metastatic GIST (cancer of the stomach and intestine) (when the disease spreads to the rest of the body).

In addition, for the adjuvant treatment of adult patients after resection of primary GIST.

What is the mechanism of action of the active ingredient Imatinib mesylate?

The active ingredient in Glivec acts in the production of cancer cells, interrupting their development and preventing them from reproducing.

Imatinib Mesylate is considered a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, that is, it prevents the action of a protein known as tyrosine kinase BCR-ABL, which is the main cause of tumors in the blood.

Glivec is the first drug of its kind that was developed in Brazil. Today, although it is the reference, it is possible to find other brands that also manipulate the active ingredient Imatinib Mesylate.

Is Glivec chemotherapy?

Yes, Glivec is a drug considered as chemotherapy and has become one of the main drugs on the list to combat various types of blood cancer.

Therefore, the ideal is to follow the medical guidelines in relation to the dosage and the way to take this type of medication.

But what is chemotherapy? Let’s explain it better:

This treatment line uses drugs to fight sick cells that cause a tumor (cancer).

These drugs fall directly into the bloodstream and thus spread to the rest of the body and fight cancer cells (which cause the disease).

It can be administered through the mouth (oral), with injections into the veins (intravenous), into the muscles (intramuscular), below the skin (subcutaneous) and in ointments on the skin (topical).

In the case of Glivec, the administration is by tablets that must be taken orally (through the mouth).

Chemotherapy is famous because of its aggressive side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea , severe pain, weight loss and hair and hair loss). Although these adverse reactions are common, it is always a good idea to communicate to the medical team in case of doubt.

How does the package insert indicate using Glivec?

According to the package leaflet, this pill can only be taken orally.

The patient should preferably take the tablets after a meal. That’s because, thus, food helps to protect the stomach.

This medicine needs to be swallowed whole with the help of a glass of water, that is, it must not be chewed, cut or broken.

If the person has a hard time swallowing, the tablet can be dissolved in a glass of water or apple juice.

This whole process is actually quite simple:

  • Put the medicine in a clean, dry glass;
  • Add drinking water and at room temperature (50mL of water for 1 tablet of 100mg and 200mL of water for 1 tablet of 400mg);
  • With the help of a spoon, stir the tablet until it dissolves in the glass of water;
  • Drink the liquid immediately;
  • Take care to ensure that the entire dose has been taken. If you find it necessary, put a little more water in that same glass and drink it.

Indicated dosage

As this remedy treats various types of illness, the best person to inform you which dosage is right for you is the medical professional who accompanies you.

About this, the Glivec package insert only makes one caveat: if it is necessary to ingest the dose twice a day, the ideal is to do it in the morning after breakfast and in the evening, after dinner.

Children being treated with Glivec should receive 800 mg for CML and 600 mg for Ph + ALL.

For adults, the dose generally varies between 400mg and 600mg, and can reach up to 800mg in cases where the disease is more advanced.

In case of doubt, ask for medical advice.

What are the side effects?

Like any other medication, the use of Glivec can also cause some side effects.

To facilitate understanding, the package insert divides these adverse reactions according to the frequency with which they occur.

Learn more about these side effects:

Very common and common

Adverse reactions classified as very common or common occur between 1% and more than 10% of cases:

  • Swelling;
  • Rapid weight gain or loss;
  • Weakness;
  • Spontaneous bleeding (mainly from the nose);
  • Mouth sores;
  • Frequent infections;
  • Fever;
  • Chills;
  • Headache;
  • Motion sickness;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort;
  • Cramp and numbness;
  • Muscle and bone pain;
  • Tiredness;
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping);
  • Dizziness;
  • Eye irritation (itching, watering, redness, etc.);
  • Dry mouth;
  • Heartburn;
  • Excessive gases;
  • Itch;
  • Thinning or falling of the hair;
  • Dry skin.

Uncommon and rare

Uncommon or rare side effects happen between 0.1% and 1% of cases:

  • Pallor;
  • Shortness of breathe;
  • Darkened urine;
  • Chest tightness;
  • Blurry vision;
  • Irregular heart rhythm;
  • Wounds and blemishes on the skin;
  • Itch;
  • Burns on the skin;
  • Pain when walking;
  • Difficulty speaking;
  • Sudden memory loss;
  • Convulsions;
  • Vomiting, feces or bloody urine;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes;
  • Thirst;
  • Difficulty or pain when breathing;
  • Muscle spasms;
  • Vaginal bleeding;
  • Migraines;
  • Confusion;
  • Nail detachment;
  • Blockage of the nose;
  • Depression;
  • Anxiety;
  • Memory lapses;
  • Irregularities in the menstrual cycle;
  • Decreased sexual desire;
  • Sinusitis;
  • Stomach wounds;
  • Urinary infections;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Increase in deafness.

Often unknown

Adverse reactions with unknown frequency are those that cannot be estimated based on the available data:

  • Decrease in the amount of urine;
  • Feeling of thirst;
  • Reactivation of Hepatitis B (for those who already had this complication);
  • Yellow eyes;
  • Shortness of breathe;
  • Chest pain or discomfort;
  • Feeling sick;
  • Blisters and lesions on the skin;
  • Generalized skin rash;
  • Change in the growth and development of children and adolescents.

What is the price of Glivec?

The price of the drug Glivec varies depending on the milligram and the amount of pills that each box contains.

For example:

  • Glivec 100mg with 60 tablets has a price range between R $ 5,820.00 and R $ 6,985.44 *;
  • Glivec 400mg with 30 tablets can be purchased for values ​​ranging between R $ 13,050.00 and R $ 16,800.00.

* Prices consulted in March 2020. Prices may change.

Are you generic?

Yes. In addition to Glivec from the pharmaceutical company Novartis, the other drug options that also handle Imatinib Mesylate (Glivec’s active ingredient) are:

Name of the medicine  Pharmaceutical  Drug class
Imatinib mesylate Vital Brazil Institute Generic
Imatinib mesylate EMS Generic
Imatinib mesylate Fiocruz Generic
Imatinib mesylate Cristália Generic
Imatinib mesylate Eurofarma Generic
Leuphila Legrand Similar
Glimatin EMS Similar interchangeable

Is it approved by ANVISA?

Yes. The National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) approves the pharmaceutical company Novartis to handle and commercialize Glivec.

Between October 2001 and February 2004, this company produced Glivec in a different form of presentation: in hard gel capsules.

When switching to coated tablets, the pharmaceutical company had to update its records at ANVISA, which happened in 2004.

Since then, Novartis has been authorized to market Glivec in tablets, which is valid until October 2026.

Does Glivec have it in SUS?

Yes. The Unified Health System (SUS) offers Glivec free of charge throughout the national territory.

To have this right, the patient must go to the basic health unit and present the medical report that proves the need to use the medication.

Even with medical confirmation, it is possible that SUS does not provide the medication, due to factors such as lack or difficulty of funds.

In such cases, the ideal is to file a lawsuit with the help of a lawyer.

For this, several papers are needed, such as medical reports and a budget of 3 establishments that market the drug.

How to budget Glivec?

For those who are going to file a legal process, Consulta Remédios offers a special program of Advice on High Cost Medicines, which is very simple: just access this link , fill in the fields with your personal data and, over time, team will send you a personalized and exclusive quote for your case.


Glivec is a drug indicated for the treatment of some types of tumors present in the blood, intestine and stomach.

In case of doubt, always seek the guidance of a medical professional. The Healthy Minute brings other information about medicines . Follow our posts and have more health.

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