Dasatinib | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

dasatinib, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Sprycel
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Highlights for dasatinib

Oral tablet
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Dasatinib is used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. These are types of blood cancer.

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This drug comes as a tablet you take by mouth.

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Dasatinib is available as a brand-name drug called Sprycel. It isn’t available as a generic drug.

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The more common side effects of this drug can include diarrhea, headache, tiredness, and nausea. They can also include shortness of breath, skin rash, muscle pain, and fever.

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In some cases, dasatinib can cause serious side effects. These include fertility problems due to damage to female reproductive tissues. Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to start a family. 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Low blood cell counts

This drug may cause a severe reduction in your red blood cells (which deliver oxygen throughout your body), white blood cells (which help fight off infections), and platelets (which help your blood to clot). Your doctor will monitor your blood cell levels closely during treatment with dasatinib. Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of low blood cell counts. These include unexpected bleeding or bruising, blood in your urine or stools, extreme tiredness, fever, or any signs of an infection.

Heart problems

This drug may cause an abnormal heart rate, heart problems, or a heart attack.

Lung problems

This drug may cause high pressure in the blood vessels of your lungs. This may happen at any time during treatment. Tell your doctor right away if you have signs of lung problems. Symptoms include shortness of breath, tiredness, or swelling all over your body.

Fluid retention

This medication may cause your body to hold onto fluids. This may happen in the lining of your lungs, the sac around your heart, or your stomach area. Tell your doctor if you have any signs of fluid retention. Symptoms include swelling all over your body, weight gain, shortness of breath or cough, or chest pain when you take a deep breath.

Drug features

Dasatinib is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

Dasatinib isn’t available as a generic drug. It only comes as the brand-name drug Sprycel.

Dasatinib may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Dasatinib is used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. These are types of blood cancer.

How it works

Dasatinib belongs to a class of drugs called kinase inhibitors.

More Details

How it works

Dasatinib belongs to a class of drugs called kinase inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Dasatinib works by blocking proteins that help cancer cells grow. This stops the growth of cancer cells.

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dasatinib Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects of dasatinib can include:

  • diarrhea

  • shortness of breath

  • headache

  • skin rash

  • tiredness

  • muscle pain

  • nausea

  • fever

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Heart attack. Symptoms can include:

    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • discomfort in your upper body
  • Bleeding problems. Symptoms can include:

    • unusual bleeding or bruising of your skin
    • bright red or dark tar-colored stools
    • decreased alertness
    • headache
    • trouble speaking
  • Fluid retention. Symptoms can include:

    • swelling all over your body
    • weight gain
    • shortness of breath
    • cough
    • chest pain when you take a deep breath
  • Infection. Symptoms can include:

    • fever
    • body aches
    • nausea and vomiting
    • diarrhea
  • Allergic skin reactions. Symptoms can include:

    • rash
    • hives
    • itching
    • red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever
    • wheezing
    • tightness in your chest or throat
    • trouble breathing or talking
    • swelling of your mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Tumor lysis syndrome. This drug may cause cancer cells in your body to break down very fast. This is called tumor lysis syndrome. Symptoms can include:

    • heartbeat that doesn’t feel normal
    • passing out
    • trouble passing urine
    • muscle weakness or cramps
    • upset stomach
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • not being able to eat
    • feeling sluggish
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Dasatinib may cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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dasatinib May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Dasatinib can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Food interactions

You shouldn’t eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you’re taking this drug. Grapefruit juice may increase the levels of dasatinib in your body. This may cause more side effects.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Interactions that increase your risk of side effects

Side effects from dasatinib: Taking dasatinib with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from dasatinib. This is because the amount of dasatinib in your body is increased. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Ketoconazole, itraconazole, clarithromycin, atazanavir, indinavir, nefazodone, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, telithromycin, and voriconazole. Taking these drugs with dasatinib may increase your risk of diarrhea, headache, and muscle pain. You doctor will monitor you closely and may reduce your dasatinib dose.

Interactions that can make your drugs less effective
  • When dasatinib is less effective: When dasatinib is used with certain drugs, it may not work as well to treat your condition. This is because the amount of dasatinib in your body may be decreased. Examples of these drugs include:
    • Dexamethasone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, rifampin, rifabutin, phenobarbital, and St. John’s wort. Your doctor may increase your dose of dasatinib.
    • Antacids, such as calcium carbonate or aluminum hydroxide. Your doctor may tell you to take an antacid 2 hours before or 2 hours after your dose of dasatinib.
    • Ranitidine, omeprazole, pantoprazole, and famotidine. If you need to take these drugs with dasatinib, your doctor may switch you to an antacid (taken 2 hours before or 2 hours after your dasatinib dose).

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with heart problems

This drug can cause heart problems. These include an irregular heartbeat, fluid buildup, heart attack, and blood pressure changes. If you have a heart condition, including congenital long QT syndrome, your doctor may watch you more closely while you’re taking this drug.

People with lactose intolerance

This drug contains lactose (milk sugar). Tell your doctor if you have lactose intolerance.

Pregnant women

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t assigned a pregnancy category to dasatinib. Based on limited human and animal data, this drug can cause harm to an unborn baby and even cause death if taken during pregnancy.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Women of childbearing age should use reliable birth control while taking this drug and for 30 days after taking their last dose.

Women who are breast-feeding

Dasatinib may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication. In general, breast-feeding isn’t recommended during treatment with this drug and for 2 weeks after the last dose.

For seniors

If you’re older than 65 years, you may be at higher risk of side effects from this drug. These include tiredness, diarrhea, trouble breathing, cough, dizziness, blood pressure changes, and fluid buildup.

For children

This drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

Contact with drug

Women who are pregnant shouldn’t handle crushed or broken dasatinib tablets. Crushed tablets can be absorbed through your skin.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

Allergies

Dasatinib can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • skin lesions (parts of your skin with an abnormal growth or appearance)
  • small, scattered spots on your skin that are red, pink, or purple

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take dasatinib (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Chronic myeloid leukemia

Brand: Sprycel

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg, 50 mg, 70 mg, 80 mg, 100 mg, 140 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML):

  • Typical starting dose: 100 mg taken once per day
  • Dose changes: Your doctor may change your dose depending on your condition and what other drugs you’re taking.

Accelerated phase, myeloid, or lymphoid blast phase CML:

  • Typical starting dose: 140 mg taken once per day
  • Dose changes: Your doctor may change your dose depending on your condition and what other drugs you’re taking.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Brand: Sprycel

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg, 50 mg, 70 mg, 80 mg, 100 mg, 140 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Typical starting dose: 140 mg taken once per day
  • Dose changes: Your doctor may change your dose depending on your condition and what other drugs you’re taking.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Dasatinib comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your cancer may not get better or could get worse. You should take this drug as directed by your doctor.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • increased bleeding
  • low blood counts
  • blood pressure changes

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away. 

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You may not be able to tell if this drug is working. However, your doctor will monitor your cancer. They should be able to tell if this medication is working for you.

Dasatinib is used for long-term treatment.

You’ll take this drug until you can no longer tolerate it or until your cancer gets worse.

Important considerations for taking dasatinib

Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor

You can take this medication in the morning or evening.

Store this drug carefully

  • Store dasatinib at room temperature. Keep it between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Keep it away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

You and your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • Blood count levels. Your doctor will monitor your blood count levels while you’re on this drug to make sure they don’t get too low.
  • Heart function. Your doctor will monitor your heart function. They may also take x-rays of your heart, especially if you have signs of fluid buildup, trouble breathing, or a dry cough. 
  • Potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium levels. Your doctor will monitor these levels. All of these electrolytes may affect your heart and health if they’re too high or too low.
  • Uric acid and fluid levels. Your doctor will monitor your uric acid and fluid levels to check for signs of tumor lysis syndrome.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does dasatinib Cost?

Oral tablet

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for dasatinib on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

  • Sprycel – dasatinib tablet. (2015, October). Retrieved from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=4764f37b-c9e6-4ede-bcc2-8a03b7c521df

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on December 10, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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