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Gemcitabine is an anticancer medicine used to relieve symptoms associated with cancers of the breast, lung, ovaries, or pancreas. Gemcitabine is administered as intravenous (through a vein in your arm) injections.
How does this medication work?
Gemcitabine is thought to work by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in the body.
What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?
What: By stopping the growth of cancer cells, gemcitabine may help to relieve your symptoms associated with cancer.
When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions.
How do I know it is working?
Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly to check how well this medication is working.
The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.
More common side effects may include: nausea, vomiting, anemia (low red blood cell counts), low white blood cell or platelet (a type of blood cell that forms clots to help stop bleeding) counts, fever, rash, shortness of breath, swelling in your arms or legs.
Less common side effects may include:
Lung or breathing problems, with symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, or cough.
Kidney problems associated with red blood cell counts, with symptoms such as changes in the color or volume of urine, or increased bruising or bleeding.
Liver problems, with symptoms such as nausea, tiredness, weakness, itchiness, yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes, right upper stomach pain, and flu-like symptoms.
Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, a condition characterized by symptoms such as headache, seizure, tiredness, increased blood pressure, confusion, blindness, or other visual and neurologic disturbances.
Harm to your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while receiving gemcitabine.
Gemcitabine may also cause capillary leak syndrome (massive leakage of blood components from blood vessels into nearby body parts and muscles).
Your healthcare provider will not administer gemcitabine to you if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.
Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with gemcitabine. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney or liver problems, if you received or are currently receiving radiation therapy, if you drink alcohol, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.
Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you.
Your healthcare provider will administer gemcitabine to you.
Each treatment with gemcitabine may take 30 minutes.
Do not miss any scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.
No significant interactions have been reported with gemcitabine at this time. However, always tell your healthcare provider about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Gemcitabine can harm your unborn baby if you receive it during pregnancy. The effects of gemcitabine during breastfeeding are unknown. Do not breastfeed while you are receiving gemcitabine. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Gemcitabine should be given under special circumstances determined by your healthcare provider. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your healthcare provider.
Your healthcare provider will store this medication for you.
In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222
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