Switching between imatinib preparations

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Support for decision making when considering switching imatinib preparations including a locally adaptable patient information leaflet.

Reasons to consider switching

These include:

  • allergy or intolerance to certain excipients e.g. lactose
  • suitability/dietary preferences/choices due to patient beliefs e.g. vegetarianism or Muslim
  • difficulty taking certain preparations e.g. large tablets
  • different preparation purchased or first-choice product unavailable

Consider excipients

Consider comparing preparations for similarities as well as differences in excipients.  This will  support clinical decision-making regarding suitability of a particular preparation for an individual patient.

Pre-existing allergy or intolerance

Some people have a pre-existing allergy or intolerance to certain excipients e.g. lactose, polyethylene glycol. Refer to the attached Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) for a list of tablet excipients that may be implicated.

See also general information on prescribing in lactose intolerance and how to identify lactose free medicines.

Lifestyle implications

Some people prefer to avoid certain preparations for personal choice reasons e.g. vegans. Refer to the attached PIL for a list of imatinib tablets that contain animal derivatives.

Side effects

There may be circumstances where it is suspected a switch between preparations has contributed to new side effects. Switching between branded and generic preparations does not usually result in an increase in side effects.

Refer to the attached PIL to compare excipient content between imatinib preparations so that an informed clinical management decision can be made about potential side effects being attributed to different imatinib versions.

Swallowing difficulties

Some people may have problems swallowing tablets or have a nasogastric tube in place. If this is the case, contact the pharmacy team to discuss management options.

See also our general resources on managing patients with swallowing difficulties.

Patient Information Leaflet

SPS has produced a patient information leaflet that can be adapted locally by adding which version of imatinib is being supplied.

Update history

  1. Removed reference to indication for imatinib in PIL.
  1. Updated information from manufacturer added to PIL
  1. Published

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