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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 pemetrexed include:
- 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 vomiting.
- Severe diarrhea.
Less serious side effects are more common and may include:
- Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- Mouth sores (stomatitis).
- Hair loss. This is reversible, and hair will grow back when treatment ends.
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 medical oncologist.
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 taking it.
Medications can be used to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting side effects of 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.