Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What to Avoid, When Using Sprycel

I recently attended the Living Well with CML, Virtual Patient Summit. It was put on by The National CML Society and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, on behalf of Novartis Oncology. It was an extremely informative summit that encompassed many aspects of what we, as people who are living with CML, face every day.

They covered the medical aspect; both the treatment and the expense of living with CML, the physical and emotional aspect of the patient, with CML, and their caregivers, as well as the side effects from our medications and the disease.

They explained the different stages of CML and treatment goals and talked about diet and exercise. They had a questions and answer section, that a CML specialist answered, and a section that listed support groups; both emotional and financial. All in all, they covered every possible angle that Living Well with CML implies.

Today I am going to tackle the things that we, who are on Sprycel should avoid. These same things may be true for Tasigna and Gleevec as well, but because I am a Sprycel user, I only took notes regarding Sprycel.

I will also let you in on a secret:

One of the possible repercussions of taking Sprycel, is totally confirmed by my closet! “They” said that Sprycel, may slow down the user's metabolism. May is an understatement! I have been more active and more diligent about my own personal exercise since my increase in Sprycel, my eating habits have not changed, and NOTHING in my closet fits! This is totally depressing! The scale just keeps going up and my waistline just keeps on expanding; now I know why; Sprycel decrease you metabolism!

Now, what to avoid; we all probably know that we should not be eating grapefruit, or taking antacids. Medications that neutralize stomach acid may be taken up to two hours before, or two hours after, Sprycel. Confused? Hang in there and let me explain.

 The reason that we avoid medications that reduce stomach acid (antacids) is that Sprycel is best absorbed from our stomachs, into our bloodstreams, in the presence of stomach acid. The over the counter antacids that are readily available, yet still avoidable are:

                     1.       Tagamet
                     2.       Pepcid        
                     3.       Zantac
                     4.       Prilosec
                     5.       Protonix
                     6.       Nexium
                     7.       Aciphex
                     8.       Prevacid 

Medications that are stomach acid reducers, that are all right to take, two hours prior to, or two hours following Sprycel are:

                   1.       Maalox
                   2.       Tums
                   3.       Rolaids

I know that this may be confusing, but you need to be really careful if you have heartburn! Antacids; not good. Acid neutralizers; OK

Now, for the other things that I was not aware of, things that I was not told to avoid, but learned at this summit. If you are taking Sprycel, you should also avoid the following:

               1.       Bitter Orange
               2.       Echinacea
               3.       Ginko Biloba
               4.       St. Johns Wort

I do not know what Bitter Orange is, but I have definitely taken the other three supplements, at one time or another. Guess it is just another thing on my “Do Not Take” list.

Of course, there is grapefruit and pomegranate.

Hopefully, this information helps other Sprycel users and helps to clear up the antacid/acid reducer confusion.

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  1. thanks Michelle. I knew about the grapefruit but not about the supplements.

  2. Any other foods Michele? I was told pomegranate as well as Grapefruit. And why Grapefruit and not other citrus?

  3. I haven't heard about pomegranates, and I do not know why grapefruit and not other citrus.......However, I DO know that there are other medications, not CML related that tell you to avoid grapefruit, also.
    Weird, Huh?
    I believe that it all has to do with absorption!

    1. Grapefruit affects the absorption of medications

  4. I knew about the other supplaments because I came across them in the SUPER fine print in the really long form sheet that comes in the Sprycel box. You know, the one they always try to pull out before you see it.

  5. Thank you for the information, I have not heard of these and have been on Gleecec the first 5 years and on Sprycel now for 4.


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