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Imatinib and stomach issues


I have started to develop more nausea after 20 months on imatinib. Also some upper abdominal pain at night when lying flat. I have found that slight elevation of the bed does help.

Has anyone tried dissolving imatinib rather than swallowing the tablet? Does this help the nausea? Also I have read that imatinib can cause stomach ulcers. Any research on taking dissolved imatinib as a way of reducing the ulcers/gastric distress?

As always, thanks for the support of this group.


For Imatinib induced nausea, try taking your Imatinib 400mg one hour after your largest meal of the day.   

If worse comes to worse, you could take half in the morning and half in the evening.

I agree that it seems to be very important to take imatinib with or just after a substantial meal and as well with several glasses of water.Then in the event of gastric and intestinal issues  it might be useful to review the type of foods that mix well with the drug-I have found that a meal with some carbohydrates in it might help;for instance a dish of pasta or something with cheese or some elements of fatty foods works well. I suggest you experiment with when you take the drug and with what foods.

However it might not be the imatinib that is causing the problem;if you think outside the box and review your diet and exercise this might be the key.For instance I love drinks strong in caffeine like coffee and strong teas but on occasions I have to revert back to caffeine free alternatives because I find it can in excess irritate the digestion.In addition I love fine wines but have to limit them in the interests of digestive issues.As well it could be useful to consider your gut health and whether you are getting foods that support a healthy microbiome -some probiotics could help a lot.Tim Spector and Robert Thomas are both distinguished medical practitioners and authors that have written well on topics like diet and lifestyle after cancer and also the role of gut health.A personal review of diet, lifestyle and exercise might be useful.

I hope that this helps


These are excellent suggestions. As of 3 weeks ago, I am on a 1/2 dose of imatinib. This has greatly helped with all the side effects, including the nausea. However, watching the diet is so important, as well as a periodic review of the diet. Thanks to all. This forum is so helpful and supportive

I echo the big pasta meal suggestion to prevent nausea. When fasting i get nausea close to 100% of the time after taking imatanib, i find it subsides after 30 mins or so

Also dark chocolate helped when i do get nausea, as does lying down.

I get more nausea with some generics than with others, might be worth experimenting with that.

As for diet: many red wines, any neat hard alcohol and/or big anmounts of red meat will almost guarantee me acid reflux at night (high pillows help)

Your experience of halving the dose of imatinib was the same for me. I lost the cramps, much less oedema, nausea and flatulence, and hair thinning began to recover.   

That is great news. My "feeling good" continues. I hope yours does also.



What works for me is to take imatinib in the middle of the bigger meal of the day. I mean, I start to eat. And in the middle, I take the pill, and then I continuous eating.