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Tasigna may be prescribed by your doctor or oncologist to treat newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase. This type of cancer, more easily referred to as Ph+ CML, can occur through a complicated process that begins inside a cell where two separate chromosomes break off and rejoin; this results in an abnormal chromosome (Ph). The Ph chromosome then produces an abnormal protein (BCR-ABL) that encourages the over abundance of CML cells in your blood.
If you have Ph+ CML accelerated phase, the second of three phases, and are not receiving any positive results from your present cancer medication, your doctor may want to switch you over to Tasigna. It is not understood why the Ph chromosome occurs but it is known that if you have chronic myeloid leukemia, you will not pass the BCR-ABL fusion gene to your children.
Taking Tasigna as directed has shown that the active ingredient, Nilotinib HCl binds to the BCR-ABL protein that appears to result in blocking the signal that leads to leukemic cell production. This slows down your normal, healthy cells from being crowded out by the white blood cells (WBCs) that do not function as they should.
Leukemia occurs when a cancerous change takes place in your white blood cells. It is associated with the rearrangement of the chromosomes in the cells, which includes a Philadelphia chromosome (named after the place it was discovered). This has an effect on the multiplying and division of your blood cells. There is also a certain protein produced on your blood cells called BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase that makes your white blood cells multiply out of control, severely increasing the number produced by your bone marrow.
Phase 1-chronic stage is when most patients are diagnosed. This phase can last for months, even years before it progresses. In Phase 2-accelerated stage the leukemia cells are growing more rapidly and the amount of blast cells (immature white blood cells) in your bone marrow may double. At Phase 3-blast stage, CML becomes more aggressive and blast cell numbers have doubled again. Tasigna is not a cure for CML, but it can help put you in remission so you can go about your daily tasks and take part in activities that you enjoy.
Advise your doctor if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding as Tasigna can be harmful to your unborn or nursing baby. Discuss other medical conditions and allergies you are dealing with and provide your doctor with a list of current over the counter and Rx medications you are taking, including homeopathic remedies and vitamin or nutrient supplements. This will help your doctor determine if Tasigna is safe for you to take.
You should not take Tasigna (Nilotinib HCl) if you have heart problems, liver disease, history of pancreatitis, or a lactose intolerance. Until you know how Tasigna will affect you, refrain from any activities that may be unsafe if you are not alert. You will need to undergo routine blood testing while taking Tasigna.