Gemcitabine belongs to a group of medicines called anticancer drugs.
Uses of Gemcitabine
- It is used in the treatment of many cancers like non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), either alone or along with Cisplatin
- Pancreatic cancer
- Breast cancer, along with Paclitaxel
- Ovarian cancer, along with Carboplatin
- Bladder cancer, along with Cisplatin
Contraindications of Gemcitabine
When should one not use Gemcitabine
- If you are allergic to Gemcitabine
- If you are breastfeeding
Side effects of Gemcitabine
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Swelling and redness at the injection site
- Hair loss and eventually baldness
- Skin rash
- Liver damage
- Pale skin
- Breathing in difficulty
- Chest pain
- Low white blood cell count
- Weakness in the body
Precautions and Warnings of Gemcitabine
Can I take Gemcitabine during pregnancy?
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, it is advisable to find a viable alternative on consultation with your doctor.
Can I take Gemcitabine while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is not recommended when taking this medication, and if you are breastfeeding before starting the treatment, consultation with a doctor is recommended to find suitable substitutes.
Can I drive if I have consumed Gemcitabine?
Gemcitabine is known to cause dizziness and drowsiness; hence, you should avoid performing any activity that requires concentration. The medication also causes tiredness, thus driving is not recommended after you take this medication.
Can I consume alcohol with Gemcitabine?
It is advisable not to consume alcohol, but a consultation with a doctor will clarify whether the consumption of alcohol is harmful.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- You may experience swelling, weight gain, difficulty in breathing after taking this medicine
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Do not take any medication that contains Aspirin
- Headache with confusion and convulsions
- If you are already receiving radiation therapy
- You should contact your doctor, regardless of any kind of medication you might be consuming
- You should not take any vaccine, without a doctor's approval; while Gemcitabine is being given
Mode of Action of Gemcitabine
How Does It Work?
The medicine is hydrophilic (attracted to water) in nature and kill cells, which are dividing continuously, including cancer cells.
Interactions of Gemcitabine
Interactions with other medicines
Gemcitabine is known to have severe interactions with Clozapine and any live vaccine. It is also known to have moderate reactions with Warfarin and Fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
Interactions with food items
There are no specific interactions with foods. However, you should eat foods that are clean and avoid unpasteurized food items.
Dietary Restrictions of Gemcitabine
You should avoid foods that might be contaminated or unwashed such as fruits and vegetables, unpasteurized juices and milk, raw and undercooked meat, and other fresh produce.
Dosage of Gemcitabine
If you face any difficulty in breathing and become unconscious, seek medical help immediately.
Missed a Dose
If you missed any dose of medicine, take it as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, then continue with it. Don’t take a double dose of medicine to compensate for the missed dose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What happens if I get cuts or bruises while on Gemcitabine medication?
A: Gemcitabine increases your susceptibility to infections, which is why you should cover it up immediately and get a look at it. Avoid using sharp objects while under Gemcitabine medication.
Q: What should I do if I feel body pains and severe headaches?
A: This is a rare phenomenon, but if in the chance you start speaking with a lot of drag and stutter, complains of arm and body pain, rush to a doctor immediately.
Q: Will I lose my hair?
A: Yes, since Gemcitabine is a part of chemotherapy, there will be hair loss. Once you complete your treatment, your hair will grow back.
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