Gemcitabine is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat certain types of cancer (e.g. cancer of the pancreas, lungs, bladder, breast, or ovary).
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Gemcitabine is to be given intravenously (into the vein) via infusion (drip). It is delivered into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of the treatment depending on your condition and response to the medication.
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any dose. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Gemcitabine.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection with your doctor, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or infusion should be given as soon as possible.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- recently had radiation therapy
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- heart disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant while on Gemcitabine therapy, alert your doctor immediately. This medicine may cause harm to your unborn child.
Men should not father a child while being treated with this medicine. Both men and women must use proven birth control methods during Gemcitabine therapy and for 6 months after stopping the treatment. You may wish to discuss other reliable methods of birth control with your doctor.
Notify your doctor if you consume large amounts of alcohol or if you are a frequent drinker.
Inform your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated. Do not receive any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests must be done before treatment initiation to know if this medicine is suited for you.
- Routine tests (e.g. blood tests, lung, liver and kidney function tests) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine.
Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
Gemcitabine may make you feel sleepy. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects may include any of the following: nausea, vomiting, headache, constipation, diarrhoea, mouth sore, loss of appetite, hair loss, weakness or lack of energy, back pain, muscle pain, rash.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- shortness of breath, rapid laboured breathing or difficulties in breathing
- changes in the colour or volume of your urine
- yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
- chest pain, changes in the rhythm or rate of your heart
- changes in vision, confusion, fits or seizures
This medicine may cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Inform your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Inform your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you have been recently vaccinated.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.