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- First line
Imatinib was the first drug that targeted the BCR–ABL1 fusion tyrosine kinase in CML. Imatinib was introduced in 1998 and changed the therapeutic landscape for patients with CML: it remains the most commonly used first-line therapy for newly diagnosed CML patients. A complete haematological response (CHR) is typically achieved by the majority of CML patients. The complete cytogenetic remission (CCyR) rate ranges between 60–80 %, the major molecular response (MMR) ranges between 40–60 % with deeper molecular responses ranging between 15–30 %. Despite this, about one-third of patients who receive imatinib become resistant to or intolerant of the drug because of side effects. The most common side effects of imatinib are fluid retention, myalgia and fatigue.
Imatinib is now available as a generic drug in several countries. This means that companies other than Novartis can make it, and whilst generic imatinib will not carry the Glivec (Gleevec in USA) brand label, the active component in generic imatinib is exactly the same. For further information about generic imatinib please see our Generic Imatinib Leaflet.
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