Brand name: Alimta
Eli Lilly and Co
Availability: Alimta is available by prescription
- Alimta was approved
in February 2004 by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for treatment of malignant pleural
mesothelioma, in combination with cisplatin. Thereafter, in September 2008, the FDA approved the drug as a
first-line treatment, in combination with cisplatin, of locally-advanced and metastatic non-small cell lung
cancer (NSCLC) in patients with non-squamous histology.
Indications: ALIMTA is used to treat the following
mesothelioma that was not previously treated with other chemotherapy drugs. Most of the times, alimta is used in
combination with another chemotherapy drug called cisplatin.
metastatic non-small cell lung cancer that was treated with monochemotherapy.
Note: your doctor can use Alimta to treat
other medical conditions non-mentioned in this article if he believes it may be helpful.
Alimta is taken by
injection into a vein (intravenous, IV), usually associated with cisplatin.
In addition, you can be prescribed folic acid and vitamin B12 to
supplement your diet in order to reduce the development of side effects.
ike any chemotherapy drug, Alimta must be administered only by medical professionals experienced in the use of
anticancer chemotherapy. The instructions recommended should be respected. In other words, ALIMTA solution must be
prepared and administered according to the FDA approved indications
When Alimta is used in combination
with cisplatin, the dosage is usually 500 mg / m² Body Surface Area (BSA). The drug is recommended to be taken
by intravenous infusion during a period of 10 minutes, once every 21 days. The recommended dose of cisplatin is
75 mg / m² body surface area (BSA) injected over 2 hours. It is recommended to start the injection about 30 minutes after
the Alimta injection. To increase the curative effects and decrease the side effects of Alimta, the therapy must
be accompanied by an antiemetic treatment (against vomiting and nausea) and adequate hydration before and after
the injection of cisplatin.
Alimta is given by intravenous injection, usually in combination with other drugs. The drug is given by a
specialist in oncology, hematology, or by a competent physician that has experience in giving chemotherapy
medications; this reduces any chance of overdose. However, in cases of overdose symptoms, your doctor may reduce
the dosage or stopping the treatment completely. Therefore, if you experience signs or symptoms of complications
(see side effects), contact your doctor immediately.
since alimta is
administered in hospital, missing dose is basically difficult if you are present for your appointment. If for
some reasons you cannot go to the hospital for the treatment, contact your doctor before the date schedule
for the injection.
ALIMTA is contraindicated
in the following conditions:
or adolescent below 18 years
association with vaccine against yellow fever
to mannitol, alimta or any of its ingredients
or liver disease
- Alimta increased the risk of adverse reactions in breastfed infant; therefore, breastfeeding should be
discontinued during treatment with alimta;
Pregnancy - Alimta can cause birth defects when administered during pregnancy. It is recommended that all women
of childbearing age, and who are sexually active to follow an effective contraceptive method during treatment
with alimta to avoid pregnancy. It is also recommended that men do not conceive after 6 months of taking
Mechanism of Action (MOA)
: Alimta acts by inhibiting several metabolic processes involved in the synthesis of DNA, and therefore prevents
multiplication of cancer cells.
If you are taking Alimta, talk to your doctor before taking any prescription or nonprescription medications: Advil,
Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn, and others. Other than folic acid and vitamin 12, you should not take vitamins,
nutritional supplements or/and herbal products without the recommendation of your doctor.
to reduce the
occurrence and severity of skin reactions, a corticosteroid is recommended to be administered the day before,
the same day and the day after taking Alimta. In general, the dosage is 4 mg of dexamethasone (Decadron)
taken by mouth twice a day. In addition, your doctor may recommend you to take folic acid or a multivitamin
containing folic acid daily. At least five doses of folic acid must be taken within 7 days before the first
dose of Alimta. You should continue taking the supplement during the duration of the treatment and for 21
days following the last day of the therapy.
You may also be prescribed an
intramuscular injection of vitamin B12 in the week preceding the first dose of Alimta and once every three
cycles. Subsequent injections of vitamin B12 can take place the same day as the therapy.
Taking Alimta tends to damage the bone
marrow, which causes a deficiency of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. In addition, the toxicity
of the drug may cause adverse reaction in most patients. Most common Alimta side effects include:
loss of appetite, loss of taste
pale skin or/and skin rashes,
beat, changes in
muscle pain, Bowel problems
(diarrhea or constipation
Contact your health care provider
right away if you experience at least one of the following:
chest pain and/or
bleeding or bruising
breathing and/or swallowing
numbness of an arm or leg
or tingling in the hands or feet.