Imatinib (GlivecÒ, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd) was the first TKI to be developed (first generation drug). Its 10-year patent expired in December 2016. Generic (non-branded) versions of imatinib can now be manufactured and sold by many pharmaceutical companies. Novartis Pharmaceuticals are still making imatinib as Glivec, but it is sold at a much lower price given the competition.
Imatinib is approved for:
- Newly-diagnosed CML patients
- Patients in the chronic phase of CML following failure of treatment with interferon-alpha
- Patients in the accelerated or blast phases
- Imatinib is the most popular drug for initial treatment because of the vast experience with its use.
- It is usually clear within three to six months of starting treatment with a TKI if it is going to be effective. If not, patients can switch to another TKI.