Read about dasatinib, how you have it and other important information about this drug.
Dasatinib is pronounced das-at-in-nib and is also known by its brand name Sprycel.
Dasatinib is a treatment for:
- chronic myeloid leukaemia – for people who have already had other treatments including imatinib
- acute myeloid leukaemia which is Philadelphia chromosome positive, when other treatments are no longer working
- acute lymphoblastic leukaemia which is Philadelphia chromosome positive, when other treatments are no longer working
It is also being used in clinical trials for other types of cancer.
How it works
Dasatinib is a type of drug called a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). Tyrosine kinases are proteins that act as chemical messengers to stimulate cancer cells to grow. Dasatinib blocks and interferes with how cells make a number of protein kinases and is called a multi kinase inhibitor. It works by blocking the signals that tell the cells to grow.
How you have it
You have dasatinib comes as tablets. You swallow them whole with a glass of water. You can take them with or without food. You have dasatinib either once or twice a day. You usually carry on taking it for as long as it works, unless the side effects get too bad.
If you are taking any medicines for indigestion (antacids), take them either 2 hours before or 2 hours after the dasatinib. These medicines can stop the stomach absorbing dasatinib. You should not take any other medicines that affect the production of stomach acid.
Taking your tablets or capsules
You should take the right dose, not more or less.
Never stop taking a cancer drug without talking to your specialist first.
Tests during treatment
You have blood tests before starting treatment and during your treatment. They check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.
Other medicines, foods and drink
Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.
Pregnancy and contraception
This treatment might harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you are having treatment. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.
We don’t know how this treatment might affect fertility. You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after treatment with this drug. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future.
Some men might be able to store sperm before starting treatment. Some women might be able to store eggs or embryos before treatment.
Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drug may come through in your breast milk.
Treatment for other conditions
Always tell other doctors, nurses or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.
Don’t have immunisations with live vaccines while you’re having treatment and for at least 6 months afterwards.
In the UK, live vaccines include rubella, mumps, measles, BCG, yellow fever and Zostavax (shingles vaccine).
- have other vaccines, but they might not give you as much protection as usual
- have the flu vaccine
- be in contact with other people who've had live vaccines as injections
Avoid contact with people who’ve had live vaccines taken by mouth (oral vaccines). This includes the rotavirus vaccine given to babies. The virus is in the baby’s urine for up to 2 weeks and can make you ill. So, you mustn't change their nappies for 2 weeks after their vaccination.
You also need to avoid anyone who has had oral polio or typhoid vaccination recently.
More information about this treatment
For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.
You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.