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Dasatinib (Sprycel)

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
  • 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 the tyrosine kinases from sending chemical signals that tell the cells to grow.

How you have it

You have dasatinib 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 body absorbing dasatinib. You should not take any other medicines that affect the production of stomach acid.

Taking your tablets

Your doctor will tell you how many tablets to take.

You should take the right dose, not more or less.

Never stop taking a cancer drug without talking to your specialist first.

You need to take your tablets according to the instructions your doctor or pharmacist gives you.

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.

Side effects

Important information

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.

Fertility

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.

Breastfeeding

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, pharmacists or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

Immunisations

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 shingles vaccine (Zostavax).

You can:

  • 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, avoid changing their nappies for 2 weeks after their vaccination if possible. Or wear disposable gloves and wash your hands well afterwards.

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.

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.