Skip to Main Content

Welcome to

Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

Learn More


Targeted Therapy

Brand names:


Often used for:


clipboard icon

What is Nilotinib?

Nilotinib is a type of medicine called a targeted therapy. This medicine is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. It acts to block certain cell signals to help keep cells from growing. Nilotinib is used to treat Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML).

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver, kidney, and thyroid function.

tablet and capsule icon

Taken as a capsule by mouth

exclamation mark in a circle icon

Possible Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Skin rash
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Hair loss
  • Liver problems
  • Heart problems
  • Dry skin, itching
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Edema (swelling)
  • Muscle cramps or spasm
  • Joint, muscle, or back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Problems sleeping
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Symptoms of a common cold (runny nose, sneezing, nose and throat irritation)
  • Increased blood glucose levels
  • Tumor lysis syndrome

Not all patients who take nilotinib will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

family icon

Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • This medicine may affect growth in children and teens. Your doctor will monitor height and weight.
  • While taking this medicine, do not eat grapefruit or Seville (bitter) oranges or drink juice or beverages containing grapefruit or Seville orange.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 2 weeks after completion of therapy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Tell your doctor if you start taking any new medicine while taking nilotinib because this may change the blood level of nilotinib or increase the side effects.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions for safe handling and disposal of the medicine.

Nilotinib at home:

  • This medicine is usually taken 2 times a day, every 12 hours. Take the medicine at about the same times each day.
  • Take capsules on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.
  • Swallow capsules whole. Do not crush, chew, or break.
  • Take with a full glass of water.
  • If a patient is unable to swallow the capsules, the powder from the capsule may be mixed into a small amount of applesauce and taken within 15 minutes. 
  • Caregivers should wear gloves when handling this medicine. If the medicine gets on your skin, wash the area right away.
  • Store the medicine at room temperature.
  • In case of a missed dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling and disposal.