Treatment Challenges

Side effects or drug resistance may keep you from reaching treatment goals

Since 2001, prescription medications known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have played an important role in the treatment of Ph+ CML in chronic phase.

While many patients respond to TKIs, some people do not, or they have trouble tolerating the side effects.


Some patients struggle with unmanageable side effects

For some people, the journey with Ph+ CML in chronic phase can have its ups and downs. That can be because side effects become unmanageable, which can make it difficult to stay on track with your treatment.

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 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.

Every patient is different. 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:

  • Reducing the number of leukemic cells in your body
  • Lowering the amount of BCR-ABL protein in your body; your doctor may refer to this as a molecular response

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

Your doctor will use blood tests as a way to determine if you are responding to treatment. To measure your response, 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® (asciminib) tablets. 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.