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Pemetrexed is used in the treatment of ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, testicular cancer., breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), blood cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer and urinary bladder cancer

How it works

Pemetrexed interferes with the growth of DNA and RNA of the cancer cells by substituting their building blocks. It prevents the cancer cells from growing and multiplying.

Common side effects

Nausea, Muscle pain, Joint pain, Shortness of breath, Chest pain, Constipation, Depression, Fatigue, Dizziness, Headache, Insomnia, Decreased white blood cell count, Loss of appetite, Mood changes, Vomiting, Weight loss

Available Medicine

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Expert advice

  • You should always take vitamin B12, folic acid, and corticosteroids along with pemetrexed.
  • Tell your doctor, if you have been recently vaccinated. 
  • Tell your doctor if you have heart disease or history of heart disease, kidney or liver disorder.
  • Your blood samples will be evaluated to check kidney and liver function and blood cell count before each pemetrexed infusion.
  • If you have had or are going to have radiation therapy, tell your doctor, as there may be an early or late radiation reaction with pemetrexed. 
  • Consult your doctor regarding contraception and ensure to use contraception when on treatment with Pemetrexed and up to 6 months thereafter.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you may become pregnant or breast-feeding.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is pemetrexed a vesicant?
No. Pemetrexed is not a vesicant

Q. Is pemetrexed a chemotherapy/ cytotoxic?
Yes. Pemetrexed is chemotherapy and a cytotoxic drug

Q. Is pemetrexed safe?
Pemetrexed is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor

Q. Does pemetrexed cause hair loss?
Yes. Pemetrexed is a prescription chemotherapy medication and hair loss is one of the possible side effects.

Content on this page was last updated on 09 January, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)