GIST Support Wiki

Gleevec Side Effects

This page is a collection of strategies used by our members to deal with common side effects of Gleevec (imatinib mesylate). You should discuss ALL side effects with your doctor! These coping strategies are NOT a substitute for following your doctor's instructions.

As with all wiki pages, feel free to add or modify any of the current information by editing this page. If you have a new side effect you want to write about, just add a new section header. (If the page gets too large feel free to split it into separate pages).

Outside Resources

See this website for some info:

To download an interactive estimator predicting toxicity for patients with advanced GIST treated with imatinib mesylate is available from EORTC at

Common Gleevec Side Effects

Do not be concerned by this list, as many people experience only 1 or 2 (or even 0) side effects, not all of these! Some problems , like rash, seem to occur relatively early in treatment and then disappear with time on their own.

Strategies for reducing all side effects include:

Splitting the Gleevec dose to spread it though the day (either using 100-mg pills or physically splitting the 400-mg pills)

Taking the entire daily dose at night in order to sleep through side effects (such as fatigue).




Elevated Liver Enzymes

Eye Puffiness (Periorbital Edema)

Eye Bleeds


Lower Blood Glucose Levels Effects on the diabetic and non diabetic

Muscle Cramps


Oral Fungus (Mouth Yeast)?

Rash Be SURE to report rash to your doctor, as some rash can be serious.

Skin issues (thin skin, bruising, spots)

Sore mouth

Thyroid Issues