Pemetrexed (Generic Name)

Other Names: ALIMTA®

About this drug

Pemetrexed is used to treat cancer. It is given intravenously (IV).

Possible side effects

  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It may increase your risk for infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rash. You will be given a medicine to help lower the risk of skin rash.
  • Fatigue
  • Effects on an unborn child. This drug may have harmful effects on an unborn child. Use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment. Genetic counseling is available to you to talk about the effect of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. A genetic counselor can review the potential risks to the fetus if you are exposed to this medicine during pregnancy.
  • Allergic reactions to this drug are rare.

Treating side effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help prevent or lessen nausea and vomiting.
  • Do not put anything on your rash unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry.
  • Use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment.

Food and drug interactions

There are no known interactions of this medicine with food. Tell your doctor if you are taking ibuprofen. Pemetrexed may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor’s advice.

Tell your doctor

While you are receiving this drug by IV, tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash or itching
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feeling your heart beat rapidly (palpitations)

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Temperature of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Uncontrolled nausea that keeps you from eating or drinking
  • Vomiting more than 3 times in 1 day

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Rash that does not go away with prescribed medicine
  • Nausea or vomitin g that does not go away with prescribed medicine
  • Extreme fatigue that interferes with normal activities

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