Understanding Lung Cancer Medications (cont.)
Gemcitabine (Gemzar) is a newer drug in this class that inhibits DNA production.
- Who should not use these medications: Persons with allergy to gemcitabine should not take it.
- Schedule: Antimetabolites are given as an IV injection each week for the first 3 weeks of each
4-week chemotherapy cycle.
- Drug or food interactions: Antimetabolites may increase the effects of warfarin (Coumadin).
- Side effects: Antimetabolites may cause a person to bleed or to develop infections more easily. A doctor will check blood and urine for abnormalities that may be caused by these drugs.
- A doctor should be contacted immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Unexplained fever, chills, or sore throat
- Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Small red or purple dots on the skin
- Yellowing of skin or eyes
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Severe rash or hives
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Other side effects include the following:
- Poor appetite
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Muscle pain
- Hair loss
- Mild rash
- Numbness, tingling, or mild swelling in the feet or hands
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/9/2014
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP
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