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Tasigna (nilotinib) is a popular blood cancer drug used to treat Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML). It belongs to a class of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Gleevec® (imatinib) was the first FDA-approved TKI to specifically target the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase enzyme, a unique protein that spurs cancer cell growth. Drug companies developed second-generation TKIs like Tasigna, Sprycel® (dasatinib), Bosulif® (bosutinib), and Iclusig (ponatinib) to give leukemia patients additional treatment options.
In April 2013, Health Canada issued a drug safety warning after Tasigna clinical trials found an increased risk for developing coronary artery disease and other life-threatening heart problems. However, Tasigna’s manufacturer, Novartis AG, failed to issue a similar warning to American healthcare providers and consumers. In March 2016, the family of a California man who suffered a major stroke and died while taking Tasigna filed the first wrongful death lawsuit against Novartis. Due to the rapid onset of life-threatening heart problems, more patients are coming forward to file claims to get the justice and compensation they deserve.