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.
- Use: Antimetabolites are given as an IV injection each week for the first 3 weeks of each 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
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP
Must Read Articles Related to Understanding Lung Cancer Medications
Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
Cancers are diseases in which normal cells transform so that they grow and multiply without normal controls. In many types of cancer, this results in the growth...learn more >>
Small-Cell Lung Cancer
When cells of the lung start growing rapidly in an uncontrolled manner, the condition is called lung cancer. Lung cancer can affect any part of the lung. Lung c...learn more >>