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pemetrexed (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving pemetrexed (Alimta)?

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

To make sure you can safely take pemetrexed, tell your doctor if you have other medical conditions, especially:

  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease;
  • bone marrow suppression;
  • a weak immune system; or
  • excess fluid in the space around your lung, liver, or other internal organs, including pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs) or ascites (fluid around the liver).

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use pemetrexed if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether pemetrexed passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using pemetrexed.

How is pemetrexed given (Alimta)?

Pemetrexed is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Pemetrexed must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to 10 minutes to complete.

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 is usually given every 3 weeks. Your doctor will determine how many treatment cycles you should receive.

Your doctor may also prescribe steroid medication to reduce certain side effects of pemetrexed. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Pemetrexed can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

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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