Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
The medicine is usually given on day 1 of a treatment cycle. This treatment cycle is often 21 days, but it might be longer.
If any of this medicine gets on your skin or in your eyes, nose, or mouth, tell your caregiver right away. You will need to wash off the medicine right away.
Your doctor may tell you to take a folic acid supplement, vitamin B12, and a steroid medicine such as dexamethasone (Decadron®). These medicines could help prevent some side effects of pemetrexed. Vitamin B12 is often given as an injection (shot). Your doctor will tell you how much of each medicine to take and when to take them. You might want to write your medicine schedule on a calendar to help you remember.
If a dose is missed:
This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using probenecid (Benemid®) or pain or arthritis medicine (such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, Advil®, Motrin®, or Voltaren®). Make sure your doctor knows about all the other medicines you are using.
Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.
Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Make sure your doctor knows if you have kidney disease, liver disease, bone marrow problems (anemia), a pleural effusion (fluid around your lungs), or ascites (fluid in your abdomen).
This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
Your doctor will need to check your blood or urine at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Cancer medicines can cause diarrhea, nausea, and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.