If you are allergic to ALIMTA, tell your doctor because you should not receive it.
If you have liver or kidney problems, be sure to tell your doctor. Your dose of ALIMTA may have to be changed, or ALIMTA may not be right for you.
It is very important to take the following medications prior to and during your treatment with ALIMTA to lower your chances of harmful side effects:
- You must take folic acid every day by mouth beginning 7 days before your first dose of ALIMTA. You must keep taking folic acid every day during the time you are being treated with ALIMTA, and every day for 21 days after you receive your last dose of ALIMTA.
- Your doctor will give you vitamin B 12 injections while you are getting treatment with ALIMTA. You will get your first vitamin B 12 injection one week before your first dose of ALIMTA, and then about every 9 weeks during treatment.
- Your doctor will prescribe a medicine called a "corticosteroid" which you must take the day before, the day of, and the day after each treatment with ALIMTA to reduce rash.
You will have regular blood tests before and during your treatment with ALIMTA. Your doctor may adjust your dose of ALIMTA or delay your treatment based on the results of your blood test and on your general condition.What should I tell my doctor before receiving ALIMTA?If you think you are pregnant, are planning to become pregnant, or are nursing, please tell your healthcare team. ALIMTA may harm your unborn or nursing baby. Your physician may advise you to use effective contraception (birth control) to prevent pregnancy while you are being treated with ALIMTA. Tell your doctor if you are taking other medicines, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. ALIMTA and other medicines may affect each other, causing serious side effects. Especially, tell your doctor if you are taking medicines called "nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs" (NSAIDs) for pain or swelling. What are the possible side effects of ALIMTA?Most patients taking ALIMTA will have side effects. Sometimes it is not always possible to tell whether ALIMTA, another medicine, or the cancer itself is causing these side effects. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, diarrhea, or mouth sores. These symptoms could mean you have an infection, which may be severe and could lead to death. The most common side effects of ALIMTA when given alone or in combination with cisplatin are:
- Stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. You can obtain medicines to help control some of these symptoms. Call your doctor if you get any of these symptoms.
- Low blood cell counts:
- Low red blood cells. Low red blood cells may make you feel tired, get tired easily, appear pale, and become short of breath.
- Low white blood cells. Low white blood cells may give you a greater chance for infection. If you have a fever (temperature above 100.4°F) or other signs of infection, call your doctor right away.
- Low platelets. Low platelets give you a greater chance for bleeding. Your doctor will do blood tests to check your blood counts before and during treatment with ALIMTA.
- Tiredness. You may feel tired or weak for a few days after your ALIMTA treatments. If you have severe weakness or tiredness, call your doctor.
- Redness or sores in your mouth, throat, on your lips or in the tube that connects your throat and stomach (esophagus). You may get redness or sores in your mouth, throat, on your lips, or in your esophagus (stomatitis, pharyngitis, esophagitis) or you may feel pain or have difficulty when drinking or swallowing food. These symptoms may happen a few days after ALIMTA treatment. Talk with your doctor if you get any of these symptoms.
- Loss of appetite. You may lose your appetite and lose weight during your treatment. Talk to your doctor if this is a problem for you.
- Rash. You may get a rash or itching during treatment. These reactions usually appear between treatments with ALIMTA and usually go away before the next treatment. Skin reactions or rashes that include blistering or peeling may be severe and could lead to death. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.