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Drug Guide    P   Pemetrexed

  Prescription drug information   Post your opinion about this drug  

   Pemetrexed

Pemetrexed
IV


Pemetrexed is used to treat certain types of cancer (e.g., lung cancer, mesothelioma). It is a chemotherapy drug that is used alone or in combination with other medications to slow or stop cancer cell growth.

 
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 Pemetrexed images:

OverviewPhotosHow To UseSide EffectsPrecautionsMissed DoseDrug Interactions
Pemetrexed

Uses
Pemetrexed is used to treat certain types of cancer (e.g., lung cancer, mesothelioma). It is a chemotherapy drug that is used alone or in combination with other medications to slow or stop cancer cell growth.
Notes
  • Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood counts, kidney and liver function tests) should be performed to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
  • Consult your doctor for more details.

Storage
  • Store unmixed medication vials at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C).
  • Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted.
  • Once the medication is mixed in solution, use it within 24 hours.


How To Use
  • This medication comes with a Patient Information Leaflet available from your pharmacist.
  • Read it carefully before you start using pemetrexed.
  • If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.This medication is given by injection into a vein (IV) by a healthcare professional, usually over 10 minutes, once every 3 weeks.
  • The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to therapy.This medication should be mixed and diluted in the correct IV fluids.
  • The mixed medication should be clear and colorless or yellow to yellow-green in color.
  • Before using, check this medication visually for particles and discoloration.
  • If either is present, do not use the liquid.
  • If you have questions regarding the use of this medication, consult your pharmacist.To lower your chance of side effects, it is very important that you take folic acid vitamins and receive vitamin B12 shots before and during treatment with pemetrexed.
  • Folic acid vitamins are available over-the-counter without a prescription, and folic acid can be found in many multivitamin products.
  • Make sure your vitamin contains between 350 to 1000 micrograms (0.35 to 1 milligram) of folic acid.
  • Take folic acid daily for at least 5 out of the 7 days before your first dose of pemetrexed, during treatment, and for 3 weeks after your last treatment.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you need help choosing a folic acid vitamin.
  • Your doctor will give you a vitamin B12 shot into the muscle, usually 1 week before your first dose of pemetrexed and then once every 9 weeks during your treatment.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.To reduce your chance of having a skin reaction while using pemetrexed, your doctor will prescribe a corticosteroid medicine (e.g., dexamethasone) to take for a short period around the time of each treatment.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.If this medication touches your skin, wash the skin immediately and completely with soap and water.

Side Effects
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, mouth sores, headache, body aches/pains, dizziness, and tiredness may occur.
  • Nausea and vomiting can be severe.
  • In some cases, drug therapy may be needed to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting.
  • Not eating before your treatment may help relieve vomiting.
  • Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects.
  • If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Temporary hair loss may occur.
  • Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.
  • Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: fast/pounding heartbeat, change in the amount of urine, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin, severe stomach/abdominal pain, pain/redness/swelling of arms or legs, sore throat, painful/difficult swallowing, mental/mood changes, depression, numbness or tingling of the hands/feet, easy bruising/bleeding.Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain, new or worsening shortness of breath.This medication can lower the body's ability to fight an infection.
  • Notify your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, chills or persistent sore throat.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs.
  • Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing.Pemetrexed can commonly cause a rash that is usually not serious and that can be prevented by taking corticosteroid medication (see How to Use section).
  • However, if you do develop a rash, you may not be able to tell it apart from a rare rash that could be a sign of a severe reaction.
  • Therefore, seek immediate medical attention if you develop a rash.If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions
  • Before taking pemetrexed, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions.
  • Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: severe kidney disease.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: decreased bone marrow function/blood cell disorders (e.g., anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia), kidney problems, liver problems.Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine.Use caution with sharp objects like safety razors or nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports to lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured.Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.This drug may make you dizzy; use caution while engaging in activities requiring alertness such as driving or using machinery.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages.This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
  • It may cause harm to an unborn baby.
  • Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control.
  • It is recommended that men and women use two effective forms of birth control (e.g., condoms, birth control pills) while taking this medication and for some period afterwards.It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk.
  • Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended.
  • Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Missed Dose
  • For the best benefits, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed.
  • If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule.

Drug Interactions
  • Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it.
  • Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: probenecid, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen).Low-dose aspirin, as prescribed by your doctor for specific medical reasons such as heart attack or stroke prevention (usually these dosages are 81-325 milligrams per day), should be continued.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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