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Treatment Challenges

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Side effects or drug resistance can make for a rocky journey

For some people, the journey with Ph+ CML in chronic phase can have its ups and downs. That can be because side effects may become unmanageable, which can make it difficult to stay on track with your treatment. Other people may develop what's known as drug resistance.


Some patients struggle with unmanageable side effects

Once you start on medication, it’s important to maintain an open conversation with your doctor. If you’re having trouble managing your side effects, don’t stay silent.

Did you know?

More than 1 of every 2 patients (up to 55%) with Ph+ CML in chronic phase who had been treated with 2 prior tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) could not tolerate the side effects of one of their previous medications.*

*Specific to a clinical study where 60 patients with Ph+ CML in chronic phase or Ph+ CML in accelerated phase were treated with 2 prior TKIs.

Some people may become resistant to medication

While some people deal with side effects, others may experience drug resistance. This is when your body does not respond to a medication or may stop responding to a medication.

This is why it’s helpful to work closely with your doctor to set treatment goals and understand key milestones.

Common treatment goals in Ph+ CML in chronic phase

You’ll want to ask your doctor about treatment goals that may be within your reach. Some common goals include:

Measuring response

To help determine if you are responding to your medication, your doctor will have you go for blood tests on a regular basis. Your results can help your doctor determine whether you are reaching treatment milestones.

Of course, not every patient will reach the treatment milestones below.

Treatment milestones

Blood tests will be used by your doctor to measure your response to treatment. Your doctor will consider your starting point (also called a baseline) as BCR-ABL1 100%. This means that 100 out of 100 cells have the BCR-ABL1 gene.

Here are milestones your doctor may discuss with you:

Complete cytogenetic response (CCyR)

A cytogenetic response measures your chromosomes.

  • Tests show there are no Ph+ cells in the bone marrow
  • This means that the amount of BCR-ABL1 is ≤1% of all the cells in your blood
  • Think of that as 1 out of every 100 cells having the BCR-ABL1 gene compared with baseline

Major molecular response (MMR)

  • Tests show that the amount of BCR-ABL1 in the blood is ≤0.1%
  • Think of that as 1 out of every 1000 cells having the BCR-ABL1 gene compared with baseline

What if you’re not reaching your milestones?

If you’re not responding to your medication, it's important to be your own advocate and talk with your doctor. You may also want to download this Doctor Discussion Guide to help you have a productive conversation.

Only your doctor can determine if it may be time to switch to a medication like SCEMBLIX. Learn about SCEMBLIX.

It’s also possible that you may have developed a gene mutation, which your doctor can determine by ordering a certain blood test. If this test shows you have the T315I mutation, you may want to ask your doctor about SCEMBLIX.

Speak up about side effects

If side effects of your current medication have become bothersome, talk with your doctor. Make your doctor aware and see if it’s time to consider another option.