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Alimta Drug Information

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ALIMTA, when given with cisplatin, is the first and only chemotherapy drug to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) when surgery is not an option. In the clinical studies for MPM, patients also received cisplatin (a platinum agent), another widely used chemotherapy drug. The information presented here will tell you about how ALIMTA works, how it is given, its side effects, and how you can help with your treatment.
What is the most important information I should know about Alimta ?
• Alimta should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of this medication.
• Alimta may cause side effects that could be dangerous or life-threatening. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of using Alimta before starting treatment. Alimta has been reported to cause blood and bone marrow problems (fever, chills, sore throat, unusual bruising or bleeding, black, bloody or tarry stools,); nerve problems (numbness, tingling, pain); stomach problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite); sores in or around the mouth; rash; and others. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms.What is Alimta?
• Alimta interferes with the production and maintenance of DNA, which is the genetic material in the cells of the body. Alimta has a greater effect on cells that reproduce often, like cancer cells . This is how Alimta works in the treatment of mesothelioma.
• Alimta is used in the treatment of pleural mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer associated with exposure to asbestos.
• Alimta may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Alimta?
• Before taking Alimta, tell your doctor if you have
· kidney disease;
· an immune system disorder;
· blood or bone marrow problems;
· an infection; or
· fluid around the lungs or in the abdomen.
• You may not be able to take Alimta, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during therapy if you have any of the conditions listed above.
• Alimta is in the FDA pregnancy category D. This means that Alimta is known to be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not use Alimta without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Discuss with your doctor the appropriate use of birth control during treatment with Alimta.
• Alimta may be harmful to a nursing infant. Breast-feeding is not recommended during treatment with Alimta.How should I take Alimta?
• Alimta should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of this medication.
• Alimta will be administered as an intravenous (into a vein) injection by a healthcare provider. Your doctor will determine the correct amount and frequency of treatment with Alimta. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding the treatment schedule.
• If you are injecting Alimta at home, your doctor will give you detailed instructions regarding preparation, administration, and storage of the medication.
• Your doctor may prescribe additional medications such as other chemotherapy medicines, a steroid, folic acid, and vitamin B12, to be taken during treatment with Alimta. Additional medications may be necessary for adequate treatment or to reduce the incidence or severity of side effects from treatment with Alimta.
• It is important to use Alimta regularly to get the most benefit.
• Your doctor may want you to have blood tests or other medical evaluations during treatment with Alimta to monitor progress and side effects.
• Your healthcare provider will store Alimta as directed by the manufacturer. If you are storing Alimta at home, follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider.What happens if I miss a dose?
• Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of Alimta.What happens if I overdose?
• Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.
• Symptoms of a Alimta overdose may include blood problems, sores in the mouth, rash, and diarrhea.What should I avoid while taking Alimta?
• Do not take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, others), ketoprofen (Orudis KT, Orudis, Oruvail), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox), and others except under the direction of your doctor. In some cases, an NSAID may be taken during treatment with Alimta, but should only be done under the direction of your doctor.What are the possible side effects of Alimta?
• Alimta may cause side effects that could be dangerous or life-threatening. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of using Alimta before starting treatment. Alimta has been reported to cause blood and bone marrow problems (fever, chills, sore throat, unusual bruising or bleeding, black, bloody or tarry stools); nerve problems (numbness, tingling, pain); stomach problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite); sores in or around the mouth; rash; and others. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms.
• If you experience any of the following serious side effects, seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
· an allergic reaction ( shortness of breath ; closing of the throat; difficulty breathing; swelling of the lips, face, or tongue; or hives);
· fever, chills, sore throat, unusual bruising or bleeding, black, bloody or tarry stools (possible blood problems);
· numbness or tingling (possible nerve problems);
· severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite;
· skin rash; or
· sores in the mouth.
• Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Alimta and notify your doctor if you experience
· mild to moderate nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite;
· depressed mood; or
· fatigue.
• Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.What other drugs will affect Alimta?
• Do not take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, others), ketoprofen (Orudis KT, Orudis, Oruvail), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox), and others except under the direction of your doctor. In some cases, an NSAID may be taken during treatment with Alimta, but should only be done under the direction of your doctor.
• Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with Alimta. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.


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