Where is Nilotinib used?

Nilotinib is an anti-cancer medication called protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor used for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This is recommended for use in adults and children who are at least 1 year old. This was approved for medical use in 2007 by the FDA.

How does Nilotinib work?

Nilotinib interferes with the pathways that signal certain types of cancer cells to grow. This targets the abnormal protein that is made by the abnormal Philadelphia chromosome. This drug stops the action of this protein and the cancerous cells from growing.

CML affects the white blood cells which are called granulocytes. In this type of leukemia, the change of cancer frequently involves an abnormal reordering of the chromosomes in the white blood cells. Leukemic blood cells regularly have an abnormal chromosome which is called the Philadelphia chromosome, as well as other abnormal chromosomal arrangements. The abnormal chromosomes disturb the normal control of the way the blood cells divide and multiply. They cause an abnormal protein to be produced on the blood cells called Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase. This protein makes the white blood cells multiply without restraint. It dramatically increases the number produced by the bone marrow.

Nilotinib only acts on cancerous cells because these are the only cells that carry the abnormal tyrosine kinase. This means Nilotinib stops the growth of the abnormal cancerous cells while having little effect on the growth of normal healthy cells.

How to use Nilotinib?

Nilotinib is to be taken by mouth usually twice a day about 12 hours apart. Each dose is taken on an empty stomach or as directed by your doctor.

The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, laboratory tests, and other medications you may be taking. Do not take this medication more often or increase your dose than prescribed. Your medical condition will not improve and the risk of serious side effects may be increased.

What are the possible side effects of Nilotinib?

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Fatigue
  • Joint or muscle aches or pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain 
  • Temporary hair loss
  • Constipation 

What are the precautions in using Nilotinib?

  • This medicine may cause dizziness or blurred vision that could affect your ability to perform hazardous activities safely. You should take extra care when driving until you know how it affects you. 
  • If you are a pregnant, breastfeeding woman, or get pregnant while having this treatment call your doctor right away for a consultation. 
  • If you ever had an allergic reaction to this medication, let your doctor know. Tell also if you have any allergies. This drug may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. 
  • Nilotinib should be sued with caution in people with decreased liver function, slow heart rate, history of heart disease, a low level of magnesium and potassium in their blood, or pancreatitis. 
  • This is not recommended for use in children and adolescents under 18 years old. 
  • Let your doctor know if you are taking any other medications including vitamins or herbal supplements.