Pemetrexed (By injection)
Treats certain types of cancer in or near the lungs.
AlimtaThere may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:This medicine is not right for everyone. You should not receive it if you had an allergic reaction to pemetrexed, or if you are pregnant.
How to Use This Medicine:
- Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
- You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
- Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein. The medicine must be given slowly, so the needle will have to stay in place for at least 10 minutes.
- Your doctor will give you other medicines (including folic acid, vitamin B12, steroid medicine) before you receive this medicine and during treatment to help prevent unwanted effects. Follow your doctor's instructions on how and when to take these medicines.
- Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid:
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Some medicines can affect how pemetrexed works. If you have kidney problems, tell your doctor if you are using an NSAID or pain or arthritis medicine, including ibuprofen. Do not take ibuprofen at least 2 days before or 2 days after receiving this medicine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine:
- It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. If you are a woman who can get pregnant, your doctor will do tests to make sure you are not pregnant before receiving this medicine. Female patients should use effective birth control during treatment with this medicine and for at least 6 months after the last dose. Male patients who have female partners should use effective birth control during treatment with this medicine and for at least 3 months after the last dose.
- Do not breastfeed during treatment with this medicine and for at least 1 week after the last dose.
- Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or bone marrow problems (including anemia). Tell your doctor if you have received radiation treatment.
- This medicine may cause the following problems:
- Kidney problem
- Serious skin reactions
- Lung or breathing problems (including interstitial pneumonitis)
- If you plan to have children, talk with your doctor before using this medicine. Some men receiving this medicine have become infertile (unable to have children).
- This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Wash your hands often.
- Cancer medicine can cause nausea or vomiting, sometimes even after you receive medicine to prevent these effects. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control any nausea or vomiting that might happen.
- Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
- Decrease in how much or how often you urinate
- Dry mouth or skin, increased thirst, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
- Lower back or side pain
- Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
- Red or dark brown urine
- Unusual bleeding, bruising, weakness
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Constipation, nausea, or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
Last Updated: 3/6/2023