Pemetrexed (Generic Name)
Other Names: ALIMTA®
About this drug
Pemetrexed is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).
Possible side effects (more common)
- Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
Possible side effects (less common)
- Trouble breathing or feeling short of breath
- Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
- Skin rash
Treating side effects
- Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen nausea and throwing up.
- If you get a rash, do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry.
- Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of routine, gentle cleaning of your teeth or dentures and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water or ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after each meal and at bedtime.
- If you have mouth sores, avoid mouthwash that has alcohol. Avoid alcohol and smoking because they can bother your mouth and throat.
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 taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might 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 help.
When to call the doctor
Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Temperature of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
- Throwing up more than 3 times in a day
Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:
- Rash that does not go away with prescribed medicine
- Nausea or vomiting that does not go away with prescribed medicine
- Extreme fatigue that interferes with normal activities
- Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.
- Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.
- Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.
Revised July 2014