Active Substance: pemetrexed
Common Name: pemetrexed
ATC Code: L01BA04
Marketing Authorisation Holder: Medac Gesellschaft fur klinische Spezialpraparate mbH
Active Substance: pemetrexed
Authorisation Date: 2015-11-27
Therapeutic Area: Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung Mesothelioma
Pharmacotherapeutic Group: Powder for concentrate for solution for infusion
Malignant pleural mesothelioma Pemetrexed medac in combination with cisplatin is indicated for the treatment of chemotherapy naïve patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Non-small cell lung cancer Pemetrexed medac in combination with cisplatin is indicated for the first line treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer other than predominantly squamous cell histology.
Pemetrexed medac is indicated as monotherapy for the maintenance treatment of locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer other than predominantly squamous cell histology in patients whose disease has not progressed immediately following platinum-based chemotherapy.
Pemetrexed medac is indicated as monotherapy for the second line treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer other than predominantly squamous cell histology.
What is Pemetrexed medac and what is it used for?
Pemetrexed medac is a cancer medicine used to treat two types of lung cancer:
- malignant pleural mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the lungs that is usually caused by exposure to asbestos), where it is used together with cisplatin in patients who have not received chemotherapy before and whose cancer cannot be removed by surgery;
- advanced non-small-cell lung cancer of the kind known as ‘non-squamous’, where it is used either in combination with cisplatin in previously untreated patients or on its own in patients who have previously received cancer treatment. It can also be used as a maintenance treatment in patients who have received a platinum-based chemotherapy.
Pemetrexed medac is a ‘generic medicine’. This means that Pemetrexed medac is similar to a ‘reference medicine’ already authorised in the European Union (EU) called Alimta.
Pemetrexed medac contains the active substance pemetrexed.
How is Pemetrexed medac used?
Pemetrexed medac is available as a powder that is made up into a solution for infusion (drip) into a vein. The medicine can only be obtained with a prescription and should only be given under the supervision of a doctor who is qualified in the use of chemotherapy.
The recommended dose is 500 mg per square metre of body surface area (calculated using the patient’s height and weight). It is given once every three weeks as an infusion lasting 10 minutes. To reduce side effects, patients should take a corticosteroid (a type of medicine that reduces inflammation) and folic acid (a type of vitamin), and receive injections of vitamin B12 during treatment with Pemetrexed medac. When Pemetrexed medac is given with cisplatin, an ‘anti-emetic’ medicine (to prevent vomiting) and fluids (to prevent dehydration) should also be given before or after the cisplatin dose.
Treatment should be delayed or stopped, or the dose reduced, in patients whose blood counts are abnormal or who have certain other side effects. For more information, see the summary of product characteristics (also part of the EPAR).
How does Pemetrexed medac work?
The active substance in Pemetrexed medac, pemetrexed, is a cytotoxic medicine (a medicine that kills cells that are dividing, such as cancer cells), which belongs to the group ‘antimetabolites’. In the body, pemetrexed is converted into an active form that blocks the activity of the enzymes that are involved in producing ‘nucleotides’ (the building blocks of DNA and RNA, the genetic material of cells). As a result, the active form of pemetrexed slows down the formation of DNA and RNA and prevents the cells from dividing and multiplying. The conversion of pemetrexed into its active form occurs more readily in cancer cells than in normal cells, leading to higher levels of the active form of the medicine and a longer duration of action in cancer cells. This results in the division of cancer cells being reduced, while normal cells are only slightly affected.
How has Pemetrexed medac been studied?
The company provided data from the published literature on pemetrexed. No additional studies were needed as Pemetrexed medac is a generic medicine that is given by infusion and contains the same active substance as the reference medicine, Alimta.
What are the benefits and risks of Pemetrexed medac?
Because Pemetrexed medac is a generic medicine, its benefits and risks are taken as being the same as the reference medicine’s.
Why is Pemetrexed medac approved?
The Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) concluded that, in accordance with EU requirements, Pemetrexed medac has been shown to be comparable to Alimta. Therefore, the CHMP’s view was that, as for Alimta, the benefit outweighs the identified risk. The Committee recommended that Pemetrexed medac be approved for use in the EU.
What measures are being taken to ensure the safe and effective use of Pemetrexed medac?
A risk management plan has been developed to ensure that Pemetrexed medac is used as safely as possible. Based on this plan, safety information has been included in the summary of product characteristics and the package leaflet for Pemetrexed medac, including the appropriate precautions to be followed by healthcare professionals and patients.
Further information can be found in the summary of the risk management plan.
Other information about Pemetrexed medac
The European Commission granted a marketing authorisation valid throughout the European Union for Pemetrexed medac on 27 November 2015.
For more information about treatment with Pemetrexed medac, read the package leaflet (also part of the EPAR) or contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Source: European Medicines Agency
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.