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Imatinib and depression/mental health


Hi everyone,

I'm after some advice or maybe reassurance.

I've been on imatinib since early Feb.  In that time I've had solid tablets and capsules that dissolve.  Both pill types have given me a host of side-effects - stomach pain, increased fibroid pain, swelling legs, hair thinning and itchy skin.  

4 weeks ago I started back on the capsules and I am struggling with just how low I feel. Some days I feel miserable - like a black cloud hanging over me every day.  The slightest ache or stomach pain and I spiral into negative thoughts and anxiety too. 

I find this difficult because usually I'm an upbeat person.

Has anyone experienced such feelings whilst specifically taking TKIs?


Everyday I use 10 minutes guided meditation videos on YouTube. 

There's a multitude of themes to choose from.

The 10 minutes for myself helps me in my "mindfulness " when faced with unsettling and constant negative thoughts. 

Also, from meditation there are various visualisation techniques. Ranging from healing white lights to loving glow.

Speak to your consultant. I am sure they could help with medication for side effects and mindfulness groups or yoga classes.

Keep faith and hope. Good luck

Thank you Alan, that sounds like something I want to look at.  I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

I've also booked to talk to my consultant. Hopefully the side effects will diminish a little.  

Thanks again,

Regards, Rae

Yes, yes, yes, I had depression on imatinib and felt physically awful the whole time - two years! I switched to dasatinib and all that disappeared virtually overnight.  While on imatinib, they reduced my dose a couple of times (because of my misery and low ANC, etc) to 300 and 200.  I noticed a distinct improvement in my symptoms, so that might be an option for you rather than switching meds.

Kat - thank you so much.  

Sometimes it feels like I'm going crazy so its reassuring to know someone else has had the experience.  I really appreciate you sharing this.

I think I will ask my consultant about possibly reducing the dose although I'm not yet at MMR (definitely a turtle) or maybe switching if possible because the side effects are getting worse.

Thank you again


Hello, I felt very badly mentally on Imatinib, after changing to Tasigne it is much better. At the beginning of the treatment, I was under the care of a psychologist, and from the moment of changing the medication I have to deal with my emotions.

Hi Rae,I was on Imatinib for a year so I know exactly how you feel crap isn't it .I had the most awful itchy rash ,hooded eyes ,dreadful stomach issues if you know what I mean and always knackered .If we went for a walk my Husband would always say come on you're walking backwards ,I didn't have the energy or strength to keep going .All that changed as if by magic in a couple of days when I changed to Dasatinib 50 mg  NOT 100 mg no way was I going to take that much didn't want the problems that could come with that toxic dose .You get headaches for a few days but they soon disappear so eventually over time you start to look and feel more like yourself , thank God .I have been on Dasatinib for 3 years  been undetected for over 2 years now and feel quite normal apart from a bit of fatigue but that's probably an age thing now ,ime nearly 65 ,how the hell did that happen ! haha .So if you are really suffering you could have a discussion with your Doc about a change in TKI ,don't let this completely ruin your life .Good Luck ,Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy New Year,Regards Denise.

Hi Denise

Thank you SO much for your post.  I really do appreciate you sharing that. It helps a lot to know that what I am experiencing has also been experienced by someone else.  Its much less scary.

Marry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too - and again, thank you!!!