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Gleevec (Imatinib Mesylate) - Drug Interactions, Contraindications, Overdosage, etc



Agents Inducing CYP3A Metabolism

Pretreatment of healthy volunteers with multiple doses of rifampin followed by a single dose of Gleevec, increased Gleevec oral-dose clearance by 3.8-fold, which significantly (p<0.05) decreased mean Cmax and AUC.

Similar findings were observed in patients receiving 400-1200 mg/day Gleevec concomitantly with enzyme-inducing anti-epileptic drugs (EIAED) (e.g., carbamazepine, oxcarbamazepine, phenytoin, fosphenytoin, phenobarbital, and primidone). The mean dose normalized AUC for imatinib in the patients receiving EIAED’s decreased by 73% compared to patients not receiving EIAED.

Concomitant administration of Gleevec and St. John’s Wort led to a 30% reduction in the AUC of imatinib.

Consider alternative therapeutic agents with less enzyme induction potential in patients when rifampin or other CYP3A4 inducers are indicated. Gleevec doses up to 1200 mg/day (600 mg BID) have been given to patients receiving concomitant strong CYP3A4 inducers [see Dosage and Administration (2.11)].

Agents Inhibiting CYP3A Metabolism

There was a significant increase in exposure to imatinib (mean Cmax and AUC increased by 26% and 40%, respectively) in healthy subjects when Gleevec was co-administered with a single dose of ketoconazole (a CYP3A4 inhibitor). Caution is recommended when administering Gleevec with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., ketoconazole, itraconazole, clarithromycin, atazanavir, indinavir, nefazodone, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, telithromycin, and voriconazole). Grapefruit juice may also increase plasma concentrations of imatinib and should be avoided. Substances that inhibit the cytochrome P450 isoenzyme (CYP3A4) activity may decrease metabolism and increase imatinib concentrations.

Interactions with Drugs Metabolized by CYP3A4

Gleevec increases the mean Cmax and AUC of simvastatin (CYP3A4 substrate) 2- and 3.5-fold, respectively, suggesting an inhibition of the CYP3A4 by Gleevec. Particular caution is recommended when administering Gleevec with CYP3A4 substrates that have a narrow therapeutic window (e.g., alfentanil, cyclosporine, diergotamine, ergotamine, fentanyl, pimozide, quinidine, sirolimus or tacrolimus).

Gleevec will increase plasma concentration of other CYP3A4 metabolized drugs (e.g., triazolo-benzodiazepines, dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers, certain HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, etc.).

Because warfarin is metabolized by CYP2C9 and CYP3A4, patients who require anticoagulation should receive low-molecular weight or standard heparin instead of warfarin.

Interactions with Drugs Metabolized by CYP2D6

Gleevec increased the mean Cmax and AUC of metoprolol by approximately 23% suggesting that Gleevec has a weak inhibitory effect on CYP2D6-mediated metabolism. No dose adjustment is necessary, however, caution is recommended when administering Gleevec with CYP2D6 substrates that have a narrow therapeutic window.

Interaction with Acetaminophen

In vitro, Gleevec inhibits the acetaminophen O-glucuronidate pathway (Ki 58.5 µM). Co-administration of Gleevec (400 mg/day for eight days) with acetaminophen (1000 mg single dose on day eight) in patients with CML did not result in any changes in the pharmacokinetics of acetaminophen. Gleevec pharmacokinetics were not altered in the presence of single-dose acetaminophen. There is no pharmacokinetic or safety data on the concomitant use of Gleevec at doses >400 mg/day or the chronic use of concomitant acetaminophen and Gleevec.


Experience with doses greater than 800 mg is limited. Isolated cases of Gleevec overdose have been reported. In the event of overdosage, the patient should be observed and appropriate supportive treatment given.

Adult Overdose

1,200 to 1,600 mg (duration varying between 1 to 10 days): Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash erythema, edema, swelling, fatigue, muscle spasms, thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia, abdominal pain, headache, decreased appetite.

1,800 to 3,200 mg (as high as 3,200 mg daily for 6 days): Weakness, myalgia, increased CPK, increased bilirubin, gastrointestinal pain.

6,400 mg (single dose): One case in the literature reported one patient who experienced nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, pyrexia, facial swelling, neutrophil count decreased, increase transaminases.

8 to 10 g (single dose): Vomiting and gastrointestinal pain have been reported.

A patient with myeloid blast crisis experienced Grade 1 elevations of serum creatinine, Grade 2 ascites and elevated liver transaminase levels, and Grade 3 elevations of bilirubin after inadvertently taking 1,200 mg of Gleevec daily for 6 days. Therapy was temporarily interrupted and complete reversal of all abnormalities occurred within 1 week. Treatment was resumed at a dose of 400 mg daily without recurrence of adverse reactions. Another patient developed severe muscle cramps after taking 1,600 mg of Gleevec daily for 6 days. Complete resolution of muscle cramps occurred following interruption of therapy and treatment was subsequently resumed. Another patient that was prescribed 400 mg daily, took 800 mg of Gleevec on Day 1 and 1,200 mg on Day 2. Therapy was interrupted, no adverse reactions occurred and the patient resumed therapy.

Pediatric Overdose

One 3 year-old male exposed to a single dose of 400 mg experienced vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia and another 3 year-old male exposed to a single dose of 980 mg experienced decreased white blood cell count and diarrhea.




  1. OSHA Hazardous Drugs. OSHA. [Accessed on 20-September- 2013, from http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hazardousdrugs/index.html]

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