Medications and Drugs
Brand Names: Alimta
Generic Name: pemetrexed (Pronunciation: pem e TREX ed)
What is pemetrexed (Alimta)?
Pemetrexed is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.
Pemetrexed is used to treat mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer associated with exposure to asbestos. Pemetrexed is also used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has already been treated with other cancer medications.
Pemetrexed may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of pemetrexed (Alimta)?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
Less serious side effects may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is the most important information I should know about pemetrexed (Alimta)?
Before receiving pemetrexed, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have kidney or liver disease, bone marrow suppression, a weak immune system, or excess fluid in the space around your lung, liver, or other internal organs.
Throughout your treatment with pemetrexed, you will need to take folic acid and vitamin B-12 to protect your stomach, blood cells, and bone marrow from the side effects of pemetrexed. You will need to start taking these supplements a week before receiving your first pemetrexed infusion, and will keep taking them for 3 weeks after your treatment ends.
Vitamin B-12 and folic acid are available over the counter. Be sure to take only the forms and strengths of these supplements that your doctor has recommended.
Pemetrexed is usually given every 3 weeks. Your doctor will determine how many treatment cycles you should receive.
Pemetrexed can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.
Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Before you receive pemetrexed, tell your doctor if you are taking an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen (Orudis), and others.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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