Alimta

Generic Name: Pemetrexed (PEM-e-TREX-ed)Brand Name: Alimta

Alimta is used for:

Treating malignant pleural mesothelioma and certain types of non-small cell lung cancer in certain patients. It may be used alone or in combination with cisplatin (another anticancer medicine).

Alimta is an antifolate antineoplastic agent. It works by decreasing tumor cell growth.

Do NOT use Alimta if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Alimta
  • you have severe kidney problems

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Alimta :

Some medical conditions may interact with Alimta . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have liver or kidney problems, bone marrow problems, diarrhea, an infection, or blood problems (eg, low platelets)
  • if you have a history of radiation treatment

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Alimta . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), probenecid, or medicines that may harm the kidney (eg, aminoglycoside antibiotics [gentamicin], amphotericin B, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, vancomycin) because they may increase the risk of Alimta 's side effects

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Alimta may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Alimta :

Use Alimta as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Alimta comes with an additional patient leaflet. Read it carefully and reread it each time you get Alimta refilled.
  • Alimta is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • Discard any unused medicine.
  • If you miss a dose of Alimta , contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Alimta .

Important safety information:

  • Alimta may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • If you also take an NSAID (eg, naproxen), you may need to stop taking it for a period of time before you receive Alimta . You will also need to wait for 2 days after you receive Alimta before you begin to take the NSAID again. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • If you have not had chickenpox, shingles, or measles, avoid contact with anyone who does.
  • Your doctor will instruct you to take other medicines, such as folic acid, vitamin B12, or corticosteroids, to reduce the severity of some side effects associated with Alimta . Follow the instructions for taking these medicines closely.
  • If diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or appetite loss occurs, contact your doctor or pharmacist for ways to lessen these effects.
  • You may get redness or sores in your mouth, throat, or on your lips a few days after treatment with Alimta . Contact your doctor or pharmacist about proper mouth and throat care.
  • Alimta may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Do not get Alimta on your skin. If Alimta spills on your skin, wash immediately with soap and water. Clean any areas (tables, counters) where Alimta may have spilled or sprayed.
  • Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts, blood chemistry tests, and kidney and liver function, may be performed while you use Alimta . These tests may be used to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Alimta with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Alimta should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Alimta may cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Alimta while you are pregnant. It is not known if Alimta is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Alimta .

Possible side effects of Alimta :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; hair loss; loss of appetite; mouth sores; nausea; pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; tiredness or weakness; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); burning or tingling sensation; chest pain; chills; decreased amount of urine; fever; increased difficulty breathing; mood or mental changes; persistent cough; persistent sore throat; persistent vomiting or diarrhea; red, swollen, or peeling skin; severe stomach pain; severe tiredness or weakness; shortness of breath; trouble swallowing; unusual bruising or bleeding.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include diarrhea; infection with or without fever; inflammation or sores in the mouth or throat; severe tiredness or weakness; unusual bruising or bleeding.

Proper storage of Alimta :

Alimta is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Alimta at home, store Alimta as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Alimta out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Alimta , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Alimta is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Alimta . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

  • Alimta Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Alimta Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Alimta Consumer Overview
  • Pemetrexed Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)