Does imatinib cause weight gain?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Imatinib is a medication that is commonly used to treat certain types of cancer, such as chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). While it can be an effective treatment option, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects that can occur.

One possible side effect of imatinib is weight gain. However, it is important to note that weight gain is not a common side effect of this medication. In clinical trials and studies, weight gain was reported by a small percentage of patients taking imatinib.

The exact mechanism by which imatinib may cause weight gain is not fully understood. It is believed that imatinib may affect the body’s metabolism and hormonal balance, leading to an increase in appetite and fluid retention. This can result in weight gain over time.

It is also worth noting that weight gain associated with imatinib use may be more likely to occur in elderly patients. Elderly individuals may be more sensitive to the effects of imatinib, leading to a higher risk of experiencing side effects such as weight gain.

If you are taking imatinib and notice any significant or unusual weight gain, it is important to discuss this with your healthcare provider. They can evaluate your specific situation and determine if any adjustments to your treatment plan are necessary.

In some cases, weight gain may be a sign of fluid retention, which can be a serious side effect. If you experience swelling of the face, hands, fingers, feet, and/or lower legs, along with unusual weight gain, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

While weight gain is not a common side effect of imatinib, it is possible for some individuals to experience this. It is important to discuss any changes in weight with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is not a sign of a more serious side effect.