Imatinib, sold under the brand names Gleevec among others, is a chemotherapy medication used to treat cancer. Specifically it is used for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) that is Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) and certain types of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), systemic mastocytosis, and myelodysplastic syndrome. It is taken by mouth.
Common side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, headache, and rash. Severe side effects may include fluid retention, gastrointestinal bleeding, bone marrow suppression, liver problems, and heart failure. Use during pregnancy may result in harm to the baby. Imatinib works by stopping the Bcr-Abl tyrosine-kinase. This either slows growth or results in programmed cell death of certain type of cancer cells.