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Alimta Side Effects

Generic Name: pemetrexed

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of pemetrexed. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Alimta.

Not all side effects for Alimta may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to pemetrexed: intravenous powder for solution

Along with its needed effects, pemetrexed (the active ingredient contained in Alimta) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking pemetrexed:

More common
  • Black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • cough
  • fever
  • loss of coordination
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pains in the chest, groin, or legs, especially calves of the legs
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • severe headaches of sudden onset
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sudden onset of slurred speech
  • sudden vision changes
  • swollen glands
  • troubled breathing
  • ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Less common
  • Bloody urine or bloody stools
  • decreased frequency or amount of urine
  • fainting or loss of consciousness
  • fast or irregular breathing
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased thirst
  • itching
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • skin rash
  • swelling of the eyes or eyelids
  • swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
  • tightness in the chest or wheezing
  • vomiting
  • weight gain
Incidence not known
  • Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • joint or muscle pain
  • pain and redness of the skin in the area of earlier radiation treatment
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • stomach cramps, tenderness, or pain
  • watery diarrhea

Some side effects of pemetrexed may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Burning, tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • confusion
  • cough or hoarseness
  • decreased urination
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • difficulty with moving
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • discouragement
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • feeling sad or empty
  • hair loss
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • increase in heart rate
  • irritability
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • mood changes
  • muscle aches or cramping
  • muscle stiffness
  • pain or burning in the throat
  • pain produced by swallowing
  • rapid breathing
  • sensation of pins and needles
  • stabbing pain
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • sunken eyes
  • swelling
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • swollen joints
  • thinning of the hair
  • thirst
  • tiredness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight loss
  • wheezing
  • wrinkled skin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to pemetrexed: intravenous powder for injection

Other

Side effects below show the incidence of CTC grade 3/4 toxicities in patients who received both pemetrexed (the active ingredient contained in Alimta) and cisplatin along with vitamin supplementation including daily folic acid and vitamin B12.

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea (84%), vomiting (58%), constipation (44%), anorexia (35%), stomatitis/pharyngitis (28%), diarrhea without colostomy (26%), dehydration (7%), and dysphagia/esophagitis/odynophagia (6%) have been reported. Postmarketing side effects have included colitis and pancreatitis.

General

General side effects including fatigue (80%), chest pain (40%), fever (17%), other constitutional symptoms (11%), and edema have been reported.

Respiratory

Respiratory side effects including dyspnea (66%) and interstitial pneumonitis have been reported.

Hematologic

Hematologic side effects including neutropenia (58%), leukopenia (55%), anemia (33%), and thrombocytopenia (27%) have been reported. Postmarketing side effects have included immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

Dermatologic

Dermatologic side effects including rash/desquamation (22%) and asteatotic eczema have been reported. Postmarketing side effects have included Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects including neuropathy/sensory effects (17%) have been reported.

Renal

Renal side effects including creatinine elevation (16%), and renal failure (2%) have been reported.

Psychiatric

Psychiatric side effects including mood alterations/depression (14%) have been reported.

Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular side effects including thrombosis/embolism (7%) have been reported.

Immunologic

Immunologic side effects including infection without neutropenia (1%), infection with grade 3 or grade 4 neutropenia (6%), infection/febrile neutropenia-other (3%), and febrile neutropenia (1%) have been reported.

Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity side effects including allergic reactions (2%) have been reported.

Other

Other side effects including radiation recall have been reported in patients who have previously received radiotherapy.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

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