What is Pemetrexed?

Pemetrexed is a chemotherapy medication used to treat mesothelioma and non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It can be used to treat other forms of cancer; however, it is only FDA-approved to treat the two listed above. Pemetrexed disrupts folic acid utilization in the cells and thus replication is inhibited.

How it is administered:

Pemetrexed is given intravenously over 10 minutes. It is typically not very nauseating but to prevent reactions and the development of nausea, a couple of medications are given prior to the start of infusion. Additionally, prior to starting therapy and periodically throughout the course of treatment, a B-12 injection is given. Folic acid supplements should be initiated prior to starting and during therapy. Lastly, an oral steroid is prescribed to take after each infusion to prevent a skin rash.

What to expect:

Pemetrexed can cause anemia and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections. Additionally, tingling and/or loss of sensations in the fingers and toes can occur as well. Nausea and vomiting are additional side effects. As mentioned above, skin reactions such as the development of a rash are common side effects and medications are given to prevent this from developing. It is important to communicate with your provider any and all changes during treatment.