Ponatinib (Generic Name)

Other Names: Inclusig®

About This Drug​

Ponatinib used to treat Chronic Myelocytic Leukemia (CML). This drug is given by mouth.

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • High blood pressure
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Constipation (unable to move your bowels) or loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • Changes in electrolytes

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Neuropathy
  • If you have numbness or tingling in your hands and feet, be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids
  • Trouble breathing or feeling short of breath
  • Swelling (edema) in your arms, legs, hands, and/or feet
  • Blood clots (rare)
  • A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear red and warm, and/or cause pain. A blood clot in your lungs may cause trouble breathing, pain when breathing, and/or chest pain.

Treating Side Effects

  • Your doctor will check your blood pressure as needed.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen constipation.  If you are not able to move your bowels, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.
  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen diarrhea.
  • Your blood will be checked for changes in electrolytes as needed.
  • If you get a rash, do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.  A rash that looks like acne may happen on your face and upper back when taking this medicine. Your doctor can give you medicine to help treat this.

Important Information

  • Take this medicine with water and swallow the tablets whole.  Do not break, crush or chew the tablets. 
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose, just take your next dose at your normal time. Do not take more than one dose to make up for missed doses.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of ponatinib with food.
  • This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help.
  • Drugs that treat heartburn and stomach upset such Maalox®, Mylanta®, Protonix®, Nexium®, Prilosec®, Pepcid®, Tagamet®, and Zantac® may lower the effect of your cancer treatment if taken with ponatinib. Call your doctor to find out what drug you may take with ponatinib to help with heartburn or stomach upset.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Rash or itching, or a rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines.
  • Trouble breathing or feeling short of breath
  • No bowel movement for 3 days or you feel uncomfortable)
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or feeling lightheaded

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of these symptoms happen:

  • Numbness of tingling in your hands and/or feet
  • Headache
  • Swelling (edema) of the arms, legs, hands, and/or feet

Reproduction Concerns

  • Pregnancy warning: Ponatinib may have harmful effects on the unborn baby, so effective methods of birth control should be used by you and your partner during your cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after treatment is done. 
  • Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.
  • Breast feeding warning: Women should not breast feed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.


Revised September 2014

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