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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 and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Pemetrexed is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer after other cancer medications have been tried without successful treatment.

Pemetrexed is also used with another medication called cisplatin (Platinol) to treat mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer associated with exposure to asbestos.

Pemetrexed may also be used for 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; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sore throat;
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;
  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin
  • severe ongoing vomiting or diarrhea;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • weakness, confusion, increased thirst, pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest; or
  • swelling, weight gain, feeling short of breath.

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)?

Do not use pemetrexed if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to pemetrexed.

Before you receive pemetrexed, tell your doctor 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.

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Naprelan, Treximet), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Arthrotec, Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren, Flector Patch, Pennsaid, Solareze), indomethacin (Indocin), meloxicam (Mobic), and others.

To prevent certain side effects of pemetrexed, you will need to take folic acid supplements and receive vitamin B12 injections (starting 7 days before your first dose of pemetrexed). Take only the amount of folic acid that your doctor has prescribed.

Pemetrexed can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests. Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding injury. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as fever, flu symptoms, sore throat, mouth sores, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, increased thirst, urinating less than usual, pounding heartbeats, and swelling or rapid weight gain.



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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