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What to expect from treatment with TKI therapy
If you are diagnosed in chronic phase, or even accelerated phase, you will more than likely be prescribed with one of the currently available TKI drugs approved for first line treatment. In most western countries there are five TKIs available, namely imatinib (Glivec/Gleevec or one of the several generics of this drug); dasatinib (Sprycel); nilotinib (Tasigna); bosutinib (Bosulif); ponatinib (Iclusig. Another drug called Asciminib has been approved by the FDA and EMA for 3rd line CML. It will shortly become available for clinical use.
It’s quite likely that you will experience some side effects from CML treatments, but most side effects are manageable and will not significantly impact your quality of life.
It's important that you share any side effects with your clinician because they may be able to suggest ways that you can take simple steps to reduce or eliminate them. It’s vitally important that you adhere to your treatment schedule– we can’t stress this enough. Read more about this in our section on Adherence and learn all the ways you and your family can help you stick to your schedule.
Read more about all the current treatments available in the Available Treatments section.
The longer-term experience of therapy
After an initial period, the majority of people accommodate to their particular therapy, with most experiencing some level of subtle change on both a physical and emotional level. However, it is highly individual and there are a sizeable minority who see their side effects to therapy as negligible, whilst the majority will find ways to control or mitigate common side effects as they go along.
On the other hand, over the longer term, even grade one or two side effects can have a negative impact on your quality of life. But we do have an enviable range of TKis from which we and our doctors can tailor our particular profile to help reduce side effects.