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Dasatinib is taken once daily.

There are several strengths of dasatinib tablet available - your doctor will tell you which strength of tablet is right for you to take.

You will need to have regular check-ups so it is important that you keep your appointments with your doctor and/or hospital.

Type of medicineA tyrosine kinase inhibitor chemotherapy medicine
Used forTreatment of leukaemia in adults and children
Also calledSprycel®
Available asTablets and oral liquid medicine

Dasatinib is a medicine which is given to treat some types of leukaemia. Leukaemia is cancer of cells in the bone marrow - these are the cells which develop into blood cells. The types of leukaemia that dasatinib is given for are chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

In cancer, certain cells in the body grow and multiply in a way that is abnormal. Chemotherapy (anti-cancer) medicines work by inhibiting the way these abnormal cells grow and increase in number. Dasatinib belongs to a group of anti-cancer medicines known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. These medicines work by blocking the chemical messengers (called tyrosine kinases) which send signals to cells to grow. This in turn stops the cancerous cells growing and increasing in number.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking dasatinib it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you have an infection or feel particularly unwell.
  • If you have a heart condition or an unusual heart rhythm.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works or if you have ever had hepatitis B infection.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start the treatment, read any printed information you have been given by your doctor and the printed manufacturer's leaflet from inside the pack of tablets. These will give you more information about dasatinib and will provide a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Dasatinib will be prescribed for you by a specialist doctor who is experienced in treating your condition. The doctor will calculate what dose is right for you and will tell you how many tablets to take each day - it is important that you take the tablets exactly as you are told to. There are several strengths of dasatinib tablet and your dose may be made up of a combination of the different strengths. The directions for taking the tablets will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you, but if you are still unsure about what to do, or if you have any other concerns, you should contact your doctor or hospital clinic for advice.
  • Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water. Do not crush or break the tablets - they should be swallowed whole. You can take dasatinib tablets before or after meals.
  • If your child has been prescribed the oral liquid medicine, their doctor will tell you how much to give based on your child's body weight. Measure the dose carefully with an oral syringe. The oral liquid medicine can be mixed with milk, yoghurt, apple juice or apple sauce. If you do mix it, make sure the entire dose is taken.
  • Take dasatinib at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take your doses regularly. It is recommended that you take your doses either in the mornings or in the evenings.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
  • You must try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor or hospital. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. You will need to have regular check-ups during treatment and you will also be weighed regularly - this is because dasatinib may cause your body to keep hold of more fluid than normal. If at any time you develop a dry cough or a problem with your breathing, you must let your doctor know about it straightaway so that it can be investigated.
  • Dasatinib lowers the number of white cells in your blood and this increases the chance that you may get an infection. You should take precautions to reduce the risk of infection whenever you can. So, if possible, avoid other people with infections and let your doctor know straightaway if you think you are getting a sore throat or if you have a high temperature.
  • It is important that you do not get pregnant or father a child while you are taking dasatinib. Make sure you have discussed with your doctor which types of contraception are suitable for you and your partner.
  • While you are taking dasatinib, do not have any immunisations (vaccinations) without talking with your doctor first. Dasatinib lowers your body's resistance so there is a chance that you may get an infection from some vaccines.
  • If you buy or take any other medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take alongside dasatinib. You should not take preparations containing St John's wort as these can reduce the effectiveness of dasatinib. Also, if you need to take an antacid for indigestion, avoid taking it during the two hours before you take dasatinib and during the two hours afterwards. This is because antacids can reduce the amount of dasatinib that your body absorbs.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with dasatinib. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common dasatinib side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Headache, aches and painsAsk your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Feeling sleepy or dizzy, blurred visionDo not drive and do not use tools or machines until this has passed
Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting), abdominal (tummy) discomfort, indigestionStick to simple foods
Diarrhoea or constipationDrink plenty of water
Bleeding, dry cough, high temperature (fever)Let your doctor know about this straightaway
Lack of appetite, ringing noises in your ears, mood changes, sleeping problems, changes to the way things taste, tingling or numbness in your hands or feet, dry eyes, flushing, weight changesIf any become troublesome, speak with your doctor for advice
Changes to some blood tests, heart disorders, high blood pressureYour doctor will regularly check for these

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • The oral liquid medicine should be stored in a fridge.
  • Please return any unused or unwanted medicine to your clinic or pharmacy to destroy. 

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading and references