Alimta Side Effects

Side Effects to Report

Some Alimta side effects are potentially serious -- even life-threatening -- and should be reported to your healthcare provider right away. These include but are not limited to:
 
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Signs of an infection, such as fever or chills (see Chemotherapy and Infections)
  • Severe mouth sores
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including:
 
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
    • Unexplained swelling.
 

Preventing and Reducing Alimta Side Effects

During clinical trials, researchers realized that some side effects of Alimta could be prevented at least somewhat by taking folic acid, vitamin B12, and a corticosteroid. As a result, the following measures are usually taken to help prevent adverse effects:
 
  • You must take folic acid (as recommended by your healthcare provider) for at least 5 out of the 7 days before your Alimta infusion and continue until at least 21 days after your last dose.
     
  • You must also receive vitamin B12 injections while taking this medication. You should get your first B12 injection during the week before your first Alimta infusion and then once after every three doses of Alimta (usually about once every nine weeks for most people).
     
  • Your healthcare provider may choose to give you a corticosteroid medication (such as dexamethasone) to help prevent skin rashes due to Alimta. In most cases, the steroid is taken the day before, the day of, and the day after the infusion.
     
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Alimta Chemotherapy Information

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