Tasigna is licensed for the treatment of a certain type of cancer known as chronic myeloid leukemia. It is specifically approved for people who have just been diagnosed with leukemia or those who cannot tolerate certain other chemotherapy drugs. This medicine comes in capsule form and is taken twice a day, with 12 hours between doses. Potential side effects include headaches, fatigue, and nausea.

What Is Tasigna?

Tasigna® (nilotinib) is a prescription medication approved to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. It belongs to a group of medicines known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Tasigna is used in people who are newly diagnosed with leukemia, or those who are no longer benefiting from or cannot tolerate imatinib (Gleevec®), another tyrosine kinase inhibitor medication.
(Click Tasigna Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medicine?

Tasigna is made by Novartis Pharma Stein AG for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

How Does Tasigna Work?

Tasigna works by blocking a protein in the body known as tyrosine kinase. Tyrosine kinase is responsible for telling leukemia cancer cells to grow and multiply. By blocking this protein, Tasigna slows down the progression of the disease.

When and How to Take It

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with Tasigna include the following:
  • This medication comes in the form of a capsule. It is usually taken by mouth twice a day, about 12 hours apart.
  • Tasigna should be taken on an empty stomach; do not eat for at least two hours before taking a dose and for at least one hour afterwards. Taking Tasigna with food may cause you to absorb too much medicine, which could increase your risk for serious side effects.
  • One possible way to accomplish this dosing regimen is to take one dose an hour before breakfast and the second dose an hour before dinner.
  • Tasigna must be swallowed whole, with a large glass of water. Do not crush, chew, or cut the capsules.
  • Do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit while taking this medication.
  • If you are unable to swallow the capsules, you may open them and mix the contents with one teaspoon of applesauce. Eat the applesauce within 15 minutes of mixing.
  • Try to take your doses at the same times each day to keep an even level of the drug in your bloodstream.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
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Tasigna Medication Information

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