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Pemetrexed

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antimetabolite Alimta® Cancer-related

Pemetrexed - What is it for

​Pemetrexed is a chemotherapy drug used for the treatment of lung cancer or mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of internal organs).

Pemetrexed - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Pemetrexed cause?

Early side effects

  • Nausea, vomiting or appetite loss may be experienced
  • Diarrhea may occur
  • Tiredness or weakness may be felt for a few days after treatment

Delayed side effects

  • A drop in the blood counts may occur several days after treatment
  • Mouth ulcers may develop
  • Skin rash or itch may occur between treatment, but is usually mild

Please seek medical attention if any of the following occurs:

  • Fever of 38°C or higher
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising or black tarry stools
  • Diarrhea lasting longer than 24 hours or more than 4 episodes/day
  • Soreness in the mouth for more than 3 days
  • Severe skin rashes that are painful or blistering
  • Persistent shortness of breath or dry cough

Before taking Pemetrexed, what precautions must I follow?

  • Take oral folic acid 400mcg to 800mcg once daily, starting 1 week before Pemetrexed, and continue throughout the treatment, and for 21 days after the last treatment.
  • Receive Vitamin B12 1mg intramuscular injection 1 week prior to Pemetrexed, and then for every 3 cycles thereafter. This is to lower the chance of side effects occurring.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Pemetrexed?

  • Avoid taking a painkiller medication called Ibuprofen for 2 days before, on the day of, and 2 days after Pemetrexed treatment.

Pemetrexed - Dosage and How to Use

How should Pemetrexed be used?

What should I do if I miss a dose?

What should I do if I overdose?

Pemetrexed - Handling and Storage

How should I handle Pemetrexed safely?

How should I store Pemetrexed?

How should I dispose of Pemetrexed safely?

Pemetrexed - Additional Information

  • ​Take oral dexamethasone tablets (4mg) twice daily for 3 days, starting 1 day after Pemetrexed treatment. This helps to prevent skin rash due to Pemetrexed.
  • Updated on Tuesday, March 26, 2019
  • Article contributed by Department of Pharmacy National Cancer Centre Singapore

    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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