Gemcitabine is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic" or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug. Gemcitabine is classified as an antimetabolite. (For more detail, see "How Gemcitabine Works" below).
What Gemcitabine Is Used For:
Non-small cell lung cancer
Metastatic breast cancer
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians sometimes elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it might be helpful.
How Gemcitabine Is Given:
Gemcitabine is given by infusion through a vein (intravenously, by IV).
There is no pill form of Gemcitabine.
The amount of Gemcitabine you will receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer you have. Your doctor will determine your exact dosage and schedule.
Side Effects of Gemcitabine:
Important things to remember about the side effects of Gemcitabine:
Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset, duration and severity.
Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.
There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of the medication.
The following side effects are common (occurring in more than 30%) for patients taking Gemcitabine:
Flu-like symptoms(muscle pain, fever, headache, chills, fatigue)
Fever (within 6-12 hours of first dose)
Low blood counts. Your white and red blood cells and platelets may temporarily decrease. This can put you at increased risk for infection, anemia and/or bleeding.