> Western Medicines > Imatinib


Used for: Targeted cancer therapy, Hypereosinophilic syndrome, Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, Treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumor
Chinese name:

What is Imatinib for?

Imatinib belongs to a class of medications called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It blocks the action of abnormal proteins that signal cancer cells to multiply, which stops the growth of malignant tumours. It is used to treat leukemia (cancer that begins in the white blood cells), gastrointestinal stromal tumour, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (a type of skin cancer).

How to use it?

Imatinib is available as tablets and capsules. It should be taken with food. Take Imatinib with a glass of water. Do not crush, chew, or break the tablet. Your doctor will advise you on the dosage and frequency depending on your condition.


Advanced hypereosinophilic syndrome or chronic eosinophilic leukaemia
100-400 mg once daily.


Gastrointestinal stromal tumour
In patients with c-kit (CD117)-positive unresectable or metastatic malignant cases: 400 mg once daily.


Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
400 mg twice daily when the tumour is unresectable, recurrent or metastatic, or the patient cannot undergo surgery.

What are the side effects of Imatinib?

Common side effects of Imatinib include drowsiness, blurred vision, headache, weakness, tiredness, nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, stomach pain, loss of appetite, change in taste, joint swelling or pain, rash, dry or itchy skin, hair loss, nail changes, and dry eyes.

Who should not take Imatinib?

People allergic to Imatinib or any component of the formulation.

Pharmacist Tips:

  • This medication can cause blurred vision and make you drowsy. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how you respond to Imatinib.
  • If you have difficulty swallowing the tablet, you may dissolve it in a glass of water or apple juice. Stir and drink immediately.
  • You will need regular blood tests, liver/kidney function and thyroid hormone level tests during Imatinib treatment. Your doctor may order other tests too.
  • Do not breastfeed while using this medicine and until 1 month after stopping treatment.

Common dosing schedule:
Imatinib is taken once or twice daily with meals. Try to take it at the same time each day.


This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Imatinib may interact with:

Imatinib may interact with many other medications. Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Imatinib in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Imatinib is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.


For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Imatinib in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.

Brands in Hong Kong
Available dosage
  • 100mg / 400mg (Capsules)
  • 100mg / 400mg (Tablets)
Drug class
Sub class
Tyrosin Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs)
Other drugs in same class
Used for: Targeted cancer therapy, Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), Treatment of lung cancer
Chinese name: