Sprycel

Sprycel treats certain types of blood cancer. It can cause diarrhea and headache. Swallow Sprycel tablets whole.

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Pharmacist Anyssa Garza, PharmD overviews usage and side effects of Sprycel.
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Sprycel Overview

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Sprycel is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of leukemia (cancers of the white blood cells). Sprycel belongs to a group of drugs kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of proteins that signal cancer cells to grow.

​This medication comes in tablet form. It is usually taken by mouth once a day, with or without food.

Common side effects of Sprycel are diarrhea, headache, and cough.

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Sprycel Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Sprycel

Sprycel is a prescription medicine used to treat adults who have:

  • newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic phase.
  • Ph+ CML who no longer benefit from, or did not tolerate, other treatment, including Gleevec (imatinib mesylate).
  • Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) who no longer benefit from, or did not tolerate, other treatment.

Sprycel is also used to treat children who have:

  • Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic phase.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Sprycel Drug Class

Sprycel is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Sprycel

Sprycel may cause serious side effects, see "Sprycel Precautions" section.

Common side effects of Sprycel include:

  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • cough
  • skin rash
  • fever
  • nausea
  • tiredness
  • vomiting
  • muscle pain
  • weakness
  • infections

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Sprycel. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Sprycel Interactions

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, antacids, and herbal supplements.

Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take:

  • medicines that increase the amount of Sprycel in your bloodstream, such as:
    • Nizoral (ketoconazole),
    • Sporanox (itraconazole),
    • Norvir (ritonavir),
    • Reyataz (atazanavir sulfate),
    • Crixivan (indinavir),
    • Viracept (nelfinavir),
    • Nefazodone (serzone, nefadar),
    • Invirase (saquinavir),
    • Ketek (telithromycin),
    • E-mycin (erythromycin),
    • Biaxin (clarithromycin).
  • medicines that decrease the amount of Sprycel in your bloodstream, such as:
    • Decadron (dexamethasone),
    • Dilantin (phenytoin),
    • Tegretol (carbamazepine),
    • Rimactane (rifampin),
    • Luminal (phenobarbital).
  • medicines whose blood levels might change by taking Sprycel, such as:
    • Sandimmune (cyclosporine),
    • Alfenta (alfentanil),
    • Fentanyl (fentanyl),
    • Orap (pimozide),
    • Rapamune (sirolimus),
    • Prograf (tacrolimus),
    • Ergomar (ergotamine).

Sprycel is best absorbed from your stomach into your bloodstream in the presence of stomach acid. You should avoid taking medicines that reduce stomach acid, such as:

  • Tagamet (cimetidine),
  • Pepcid (famotidine),
  • Zantac (ranitidine),
  • Prilosec (omeprazole),
  • Protonix (pantoprazole sodium),
  • Nexium (esomeprazole),
  • AcipHex (rabeprazole),
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole).

Medicines that neutralize stomach acid, such as Maalox (aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide), Tums (calcium carbonate), or Rolaids (calcium carbonate and magnesia), may be taken up to 2 hours before or 2 hours after Sprycel.

Since Sprycel therapy may cause bleeding, tell your healthcare provider if you are using blood thinner medicine, such as Coumadin (warfarin sodium) or aspirin.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Sprycel Precautions

Sprycel may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Low Blood Cell Counts: Sprycel may cause low red blood cell counts (anemia), low white blood cell counts (neutropenia), and low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia). Your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check your blood cell counts regularly during your treatment with Sprycel. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have a fever or any signs of an infection while taking Sprycel.
  • Bleeding: Sprycel may cause severe bleeding that can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:
    • unusual bleeding or bruising of your skin
    • bright red or dark tar-like stools
    • a decrease in your level of consciousness, headache, or change in speech.
  • Your body may hold too much fluid (fluid retention): In severe cases, fluid may build up in the lining of your lungs, the sac around your heart, or your stomach cavity. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of these symptoms during treatment with Sprycel:
    • swelling all over your body
    • weight gain
    • shortness of breath and cough.
  • Heart problems. Sprycel may cause an abnormal heart rate, heart problems or a heart attack. Your healthcare provider will monitor the potassium and magnesium levels in your blood, and your heart function.
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). Sprycel may cause high blood pressure in the vessels of your lungs. PAH may happen at anytime during your treatment with Sprycel. Your healthcare provider should check your heart and lungs before and during your treatment with Sprycel. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have shortness of breath, tiredness, or swelling all over your body (fluid retention).
  • Fetal harm. Sprycel may cause harm to an unborn baby (fetus). It is recommended to avoid Sprycel during pregnancy.
  • In children, Sprycel may cause slow bone growth and lower bone densities. In addition, it may cause swelling or tenderness in the breast tissues (gynecomastia). It is recommended to monitor bone growth and development in children.

Sprycel Food Interactions

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Sprycel and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Inform MD

Before you take Sprycel, tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • have problems with your immune system
  • have liver problems
  • have heart problems
  • are lactose intolerant
  • have any other medical conditions
  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. 

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, antacids, and herbal supplements.

Sprycel and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category D. Sprycel may harm your unborn baby. Women should not become pregnant while taking Sprycel. Talk to your healthcare provider right away if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Sprycel and Lactation

Tell  your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Sprycel passes into your breast milk or if it can harm your baby. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will take Sprycel or breastfeed. You should not do both.

Sprycel Usage

Take Sprycel exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

  • Take Sprycel with or without food. Try to take Sprycel at the same time each day.
  • Swallow Sprycel tablets whole. Do not break, cut, or crush the tablets.
  • You should not drink grapefruit juice while taking Sprycel.
  • Your healthcare provider may:
    • change your dose of Sprycel, or
    • tell you to temporarily stop taking Sprycel.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking Sprycel without first talking with your healthcare provider.
  • If you miss a dose of Sprycel, take your next scheduled dose at its regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time. Call your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure what to do.
  • If you take too much Sprycel, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

Sprycel Dosage

The recommended starting dosage of Sprycel for chronic phase CML is 100 mg taken by mouth once daily. The recommended starting dosage of Sprycel for accelerated phase CML, myeloid or lymphoid blast phase CML, or Ph+ ALL is 140 mg taken by mouth once daily. In children with chronic phase CML the starting dose is based on their body weight.

Sprycel Overdose

If you take too much Sprycel call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If Sprycel is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Store Sprycel at room temperature, between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about the right way to throw away outdated or unused Sprycel.
  • Women who are pregnant should not handle crushed or broken Sprycel tablets.
  • Keep Sprycel and all medicines out of the reach of children and pets.