Tasigna is a medicine that treats Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML). Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells and bone marrow. Patients with leukemia have fast-growing, unusual white blood cells that do not perform their typical immune tasks. Leukemia symptoms include anemia, frequent infections, weakness, headaches, bleeding, organ troubles, bone pain, and more.

Tasigna is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) with the active ingredient nilotinib. This medication is only available as the brand-name formulation. There isn’t a generic version of nilotinib. Children over one year of age and adults can take Tasigna. This medicine is effective against leukemia that resists other medications such as Gleevec.

How Does Tasigna Work?

Tasigna’s mechanism of action involves bonding to the protein that creates unusual white blood cells. Mutations in the BCR-ABL1 gene cause leukemia. Typically, the BCR and ABL1 genes are separate. Both the BCR and ABL1 genes produce different proteins. Notably, the ABL1 gene involves a kinase protein in many cellular processes. This kinase is usually inactive. When the cell prompts the ABL1 kinase to activate, it can trigger cellular growth, division, movement, and death.

Rare DNA mutations can combine these two genes. The new BCR-ABL1 gene is located on chromosome 22. This mutated chromosome is also called the Philadelphia chromosome.

BCR-ABL1 makes a protein kinase that triggers many of the same actions as typical ABL1 kinase. However, unlike ABL1 kinase, BCR-ABL1 kinase does not need to be activated by the cell. This protein is automatically active. It prompts the uncontrolled white blood cell growth and division that characterizes leukemia.

Tasigna fights leukemia by interfering with BCR-ABL1 kinase. It bonds with these cells and prevents them from growing and reproducing. Eventually, this reduces the patient’s abnormal white blood cell count. Additionally, Tasigna is effective against forms of BCR-ABL1 that have become resistant to other treatments.

Tasigna Precautions and Warnings

Tasigna has severe side effects, including QT prolongation and sudden death. QT prolongation is a profound change to a patient’s heart rhythm. The FDA has assigned its heaviest warning to Tasigna because of these risks.

Tell your medical team about any heart conditions, problems, or issues you’ve experienced. Consider your family history and health. Your doctor will probably check your heart health and electrolyte levels before prescribing Tasigna.

Since Tasigna can impact your heart rhythm, you shouldn’t take it at the same time as drugs with similar effects. If you have low electrolytes that influence heart health, like magnesium and potassium, you’re also not a good candidate for Tasigna. Take Tasigna on an empty stomach to control the drug absorption rate.

Don’t take Tasigna if you’re allergic to its active ingredient, nilotinib, or inactive ingredients. Even if your other drugs, supplements, vitamins, and other medications are safe, Tasigna can interact with them. Ask your doctor what you should keep taking while you’re on Tasigna.

The following conditions may cause problems while taking Tasigna:

  • Low levels of potassium or magnesium
  • Liver problems
  • Heart or cardiovascular disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Stomach removal or weight-loss surgery
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding

Side Effects of Tasigna

Tasigna has a range of potential side effects. While some are relatively minor, others are similar to side effects experienced with other cancer treatments. The most severe side effects can even be deadly.

Tell your doctor if you notice any side effects from Tasigna or anytime during your leukemia treatment. Severe problems can cause relatively mild symptoms. Your medical team will help you navigate any side effects. Your doctor may also prescribe other medications to help with side effects like nausea, digestive issues, or pain.

Minor Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive complaints
  • Itches and rashes
  • Joint pain
  • Coughing

Common Side Effects

  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Digestive infections
  • Weakness
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet
  • Influenza
  • Mouth and throat pain

Serious Side Effects

  • Anemia
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Impaired immune responses
  • Heart or blood blockages
  • Pancreatitis
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Seizures
  • Severe bleeding
  • Edema around the heart or lungs
  • Delayed childhood growth
  • Liver damage
  • QT prolongation

Drug Interactions with Tasigna

Tasigna interacts with other substances, predominantly medication, which influences how your body absorbs It. Your doctor must know about all the medicines, herbs, supplements, and drugs you take. Some foods can even impact how your body metabolizes Tasigna.

Leukemia is a complex disease, and Tasigna may not be the only medication a patient is given at once. Your doctor may lower your Tasigna dose depending on your other prescriptions. They might also find a different medicine that doesn’t interfere with your leukemia treatment.

Medications, food, and herbs for the following issues are known to interact with Tasigna:

  • Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungals
  • Herbs, including St. John’s Wort, ginkgo, and curcumin
  • Grapefruit

Strengths and Dosages of Tasigna

Tasigna comes in 50 mg, 150 mg, and 200 mg capsules. Different dosing strategies depend on a patient’s age, diagnosis timeline, and size. Adult dosage is determined by whether the patient has been treated for leukemia. Pediatric dosage is based on the child’s body size.

Patient TypeDosage
Newly diagnosed adult300 mg twice a day
Adult who was previously treated400 mg twice a day
Children over 1 year and adolescents230 mg per square meter of body surface area, twice a day

Alternatives to Tasigna

Tasigna targets the BCR-ABL1 kinase directly responsible for leukemia’s mutated white blood cells. However, other leukemia medications also fight this disease in different ways. These alternate medicines also slow the growth of cancer cells:

Tasigna FAQs

Why did my doctor prescribe Tasigna?

Tasigna is a kinase inhibitor that treats leukemia. Tasigna can keep your body from making cancer cells if you have leukemia. Tasigna is also effective against treatment-resistant leukemia. Your doctor may prescribe Tasigna if you’ve tried other drugs like Gleevec without success.

Is Tasigna the best way to fight leukemia?

Tasigna is a straightforward way to fight leukemia because it targets the protein that triggers mutant white blood cells. However, Tasigna isn’t the only leukemia treatment available. Your medical team can help you understand the best option for your situation.

Is Tasigna a long-term medication?

Most patients who tolerate Tasigna will take it long-term. Tasigna attacks the BCR-ABL1 kinase proteins that trigger leukemia cells once these proteins have been created. Unfortunately, it can’t prevent your body from making these proteins in the first place. Most patients need long-term leukemia treatment because their mutated BCR-ABL1 genes keep producing the faulty proteins that make leukemia cells.

What if I miss a Tasigna dose?

Please don’t take another dose if you skip your Tasigna. Taking a double dose can cause severe side effects because there will be too much of the medication for your body to process safely. Instead of taking the missed dose, get back on schedule the next time.

What is the cost of Tasigna in America?

Tasigna is a specialty cancer drug without a generic version. The retail price of four dose packs of 150mg Tasigna is around $42,000.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

Product was successfully added to your cart!