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Gemcitabine

Chemotherapy

Brand names:

Gemzar®

Often used for:

Hodgkin lymphoma, Sarcoma, Germ cell tumor, Other solid tumors

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What is Gemcitabine?

Germcitabine is a type of chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cells.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver and kidney function.

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May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV

 
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Possible Side Effects

  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, aches)
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Peripheral edema
  • Headache
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Mouth sores
  • Hair loss
  • Lung problems
  • Capillary leak syndrome

Not all patients who take gemcitabine will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Patients may be given diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or other medicines to help prevent flu-like symptoms.
  • If gemcitabine is given after radiation therapy, the skin area that was exposed to radiation therapy may become red again.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after completion of therapy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions to avoid contact with patient body fluids, which can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.