GEMICITABINE

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Gemzar

GENERIC NAME(S): GEMCITABINE HCL

 

Description: Gemcitabine inhibits DNA synthesis of cells by inhibiting enzymes needed for replication (DNA polymerase and ribonucleotide reductase). It also induces cell death and is primarily active against cells in the S-phase, but may also arrest cells at the G1-S border.

Pharmacokinetics:

Metabolism: Rapidly cleared from the blood and metabolised by cytidine deaminase in the liver, kidney, blood, and other tissues after IV admin.

Excretion: Mainly excreted in the urine. Half life ranges from 42-94 minutes.

Gemcitabine is a chemotherapy drug that works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells used alone or with other treatments/medications to treat certain types of cancer (including breast, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, and probably bladder).

How to use gemcitabine intravenous

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your healthcare professional before you start receiving gemcitabine and each scheduled dose. If you have any questions, ask your healthcare professional.

This medication is given by injection into a vein by a healthcare professional, usually over 30 minutes once a week or as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.

If this medication touches your skin, wash the skin immediately and completely with soap and water.

Contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly if any of these effects persist or worsen:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • pain/redness at the injection site
  • flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, muscle aches)

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • dizziness/lightheadedness
  • fainting, mouth sores
  • numbness/tingling of hands/feet
  • sudden weight gain
  • swelling of ankles/feet
  • severe stomach/abdominal pain
  • easy bleeding/bruising
  • cough
  • difficulty catching your breath (shortness of breath, wheezing)
  • unusual tiredness
  • fast/irregular heartbeat
  • change in amount of urine
  • dark urine
  • yellowing of the eyes/skin
  • any signs of infection (e.g., high fever, chills, persistent sore throat)

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:

  • chest pain
  • jaw/left arm pain
  • weakness on one side of the body
  • slurred speech
  • vision changes
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • severe headache

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:

  • rash
  • itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
  • dizziness
  • trouble breathing

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions

Before using gemcitabine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:

  • bone marrow problems (e.g., leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia)
  • heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat, heart failure)
  • kidney problems
  • liver problems
  • radiation therapy

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine.

Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured, use caution with sharp objects like safety razors or nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to lessen the risk of bleeding gums.

This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. Discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) with your doctor.

It is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the potential harm to the nursing infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

 

Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.

Notes

Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood pressure, complete blood counts before each dose, kidney function tests, liver function tests, serum albumin) should be performed from time to time to monitor for side effects and response to treatment. Consult your doctor for more details. Keep all scheduled medical appointments.

Missed Dose

For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule.

Storage

Not applicable. This medication is given in a clinic and will not be stored at home.

 

Brands

Available Brands

Citagem [ Biomedis Oncology ] Gemcit [ Sandoz ]
Gemita [ Fresenius Kabi ] Gemtabin [ Korea United Pharma ]
Gemzar [ Eli Lilly ] Gitrabin [ PPC ]
Hospira Gemcitabine [ Hospira ] Oncoril [ Ambica ]
Zefei [ Jiangsu Hansen ]

Also marketed as

Abingem [ Naprod ] Gembio [ Intas ]
Gemcibine [ Yuhan ] Gemcikal [ Kalbe International Phils ]

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