Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs) for Cancer
A tyrosine kinase inhibitor (say "TY-ruh-seen KY-nays in-HIH-bih-ter") is used in cancer treatment as targeted therapy.
How It Works
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are medicines that block signals that tell a cell to grow and divide. This can slow or stop cancer cells from growing. In some cases it can cause the cells to die.
Why It Is Used
How Well It Works
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors are effective medicines for the treatment of some cancers, such as chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
In rare cases, erlotinib can cause a serious lung problem called interstitial lung disease. Immediately report to your oncologist any shortness of breath or cough.
Taking dasatinib may cause pleural effusion. Dasatinib can also increase your risk for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a rare but serious heart problem.
Common side effects of these medicines include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
These medicines may cause serious blood, heart, lung, or liver problems, so your doctor will watch you closely and monitor your blood counts. You may also have tests to check your liver, heart, and lungs.
Each of the TKIs have specific ways they need to be taken, so talk with your doctor about how to take your medicine.
You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after taking this medicine. Talk with your doctor about fertility before starting treatment.
These medicines can interact with many other drugs. Be sure that your doctor knows all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Do not take tyrosine kinase inhibitors with grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice can make these medicines useless.
Skin rashes are often a problem for people taking these medicines. Try using a moisturizer several times a day. Seeing a dermatologist may help.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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