Imatinib Mesylate is used to treat certain types of leukaemia, type of cancers that begins in the white
blood cells, other cancers and disorders of the blood cells. Imatinib is also used to treat certain types
of gastrointestinal stromal tumours, a type of tumour that grows in the walls of the digestive passages
and may spread to other parts of the body. Imatinib is also used to treat tumours that forms under the
top layer of skin, especially when the tumour cannot be removed surgically, has spread to other parts
of the body, or has come back after surgery. Imatinib is in a class of medications called kinase
inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of the abnormal protein that signals cancer cells to multiply.
This helps stop the spread of cancer cells.
Imatinib is sold under the brand name Gleevec among others.
Scientists at Ciba-Geigy (which merged with Sandoz in 1996 to become Novartis) invented Imatinib in
the late 1990s, in a team led by biochemist Nicholas Lydon and that included Elisabeth Buchdunger
and Jürg Zimmermann.
Forms and Dosage
It is sold in the tablet form in 100mg, 400mg strengths, in the treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic
Leukaemia, the Indicated dosage for adults is 600 mg per day. In the treatment of
Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Diseases, the standard adult dose is 400 mg. in the treatment of
Chronic Eosinophilic Leukemia, 100 mg which may increase to 400 mg. for treating Mastocytosis, the
Indicated dosage for adults with aggressive systemic mastocytosis is 400 mg PO qDay and for
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors, 400 mg
The cost of Imatinib Mesylate
The wholesale cost in the developing world is about US$1,386.49–19,162.50 a year. Whereas In the
United States a typical dose for a year has a wholesale cost of $84,408, while in the United Kingdom
the NHS was paying about £20,980 ($27,973) in 2016. Prices for a 100 mg pill of Gleevec
internationally range from $20 to $30, although generic Imatinib is cheaper, as low as $2 per pill.
How does Imatinib Mesylatework?
Imatinib is a cancer growth blocker called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. These inhibitors are proteins that
cells use to signal to each other to grow. There are a number of different tyrosine kinases and
blocking them stops the cancer cells growing. Imatinib targets different tyrosine kinases, depending
on the type of cancer.
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