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Drugs reference index «Gemcitabine»


Generic Name: Gemcitabine (jem-SYE-ta-been)Brand Name: Gemzar

Gemcitabine is used for:

Treating certain types of cancer, including cancers of the ovary, pancreas, lung, and breast. Gemcitabine may be used alone or with other cancer medicines. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Gemcitabine is an antimetabolite. It works by preventing certain proteins from being made that are necessary for tumor growth.

Do NOT use Gemcitabine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Gemcitabine
  • you have a blood disorder, difficulty breathing, or a lung disease, or you are receiving radiation therapy

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

Before using Gemcitabine :

Some medical conditions may interact with Gemcitabine . 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 bone marrow suppression, liver or kidney problems, chickenpox, or shingles
  • if you drink alcohol regularly or have a history of alcohol abuse

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

  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because the risk of bleeding may be increased
  • Hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because its effectiveness may be decreased by Gemcitabine , increasing the risk of seizures

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Gemcitabine 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 Gemcitabine :

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

  • Gemcitabine is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using Gemcitabine at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • Do not use Gemcitabine if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • If Gemcitabine accidentally spills on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water. Clean any areas (tables, counter) where Gemcitabine may have spilled or sprayed.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Gemcitabine , use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

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

Important safety information:

  • Gemcitabine may cause drowsiness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Gemcitabine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Gemcitabine 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.
  • Gemcitabine 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.
  • Avoid vaccinations with live virus vaccines (eg, measles, mumps, oral polio) while you are taking Gemcitabine . Vaccinations may be less effective.
  • Lab tests, including liver or kidney function, complete blood cell counts, or platelet counts, may be performed while you use Gemcitabine . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Gemcitabine should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Gemcitabine has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Gemcitabine while you are pregnant. It is not known if Gemcitabine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while you are taking Gemcitabine .

Possible side effects of Gemcitabine :

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:

Abnormal skin sensations; bleeding; blood in the urine; constipation; diarrhea; drowsiness; flu-like symptoms (fever, weakness, loss of appetite, headache, cough, chills, and muscle aches); hair loss; infection (fever, chills, sore throat); itching; loss of appetite; nausea; reaction at the injection site; sleepiness; small red spots under the skin; swelling of the hands or feet; 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); abdominal pain; confusion; dark urine; difficulty breathing; difficulty urinating or decreased amount of urine; irregular or absent menstrual periods; irregular heartbeat; joint or muscle pain; numbness in the arms or legs; painful or frequent urination; seeing or hearing strange things; seizures; shortness of breath; sores on the mouth or lips; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

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 may include decreased ability to fight off infections; severe rash; tingling or numbness in the arms or legs.

Proper storage of Gemcitabine :

Store dry powder of Gemcitabine at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. After mixing, store the solution at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Gemcitabine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Gemcitabine , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Gemcitabine 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 Gemcitabine . 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.

  • gemcitabine Intravenous Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Gemzar Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Gemzar Consumer Overview

See Also...

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