How It Works
Pemetrexed interferes with the cancer cell's ability to reproduce.
Pemetrexed is an
intravenous (IV) medication that is usually given in a
dose based on body surface area. The type and extent of a cancer determines the
exact dose and schedule of administering this drug.
Why It Is Used
Pemetrexed slows or stops the growth and spread of cancer cells in
the body. It is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread
(metastasized) outside the lung.
How Well It Works
Pemetrexed is an effective antitumor medication. However, the type
and extent of a cancer determines how effectively this medication slows or
stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.
Side effects are rare, but possible serious side effects of
- Allergic reactions. Signs of allergic reaction
can include trouble breathing; swelling or closing of the throat; swollen face,
tongue, or lips; or hives.
- Feeling extremely tired, bruising or
bleeding easily, or signs of infection such as a fever or chills. These
symptoms may mean that the medicine caused the numbers of your white or red
blood cells or platelets to drop.
- Numbness and tingling in the
hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy).
- Severe nausea and
- Severe diarrhea.
Less serious side effects are more common and may include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Pemetrexed should be administered only under the supervision of a
Pemetrexed can affect your ability to have children. You may not be
able to get pregnant or father a child after taking this medication. Discuss
fertility with your doctor before starting treatment.
Pemetrexed can cause birth defects. Do not use this medication if
you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant or to father a child while you are
Your doctor can prescribe
medicines to help you manage any nausea or vomiting
caused by chemotherapy.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as
aspirin or ibuprofen, are often stopped for 2 days before and during treatment
with pemetrexed, to avoid kidney problems.
People who use pemetrexed will need to take
corticosteroids to decrease the risk of side effects
from this medication.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.