Gemcitabine

Effects of Gemcitabine

One previous study looked at using gemcitabine to treat ovarian cancer. Gemcitabine combined with carboplatin (Paraplatin®) was compared with just carboplatin alone for treating women with ovarian cancer who had relapsed at least six months after previous chemotherapy treatment. This study found that adding gemcitabine increased the time these women survived without their cancer becoming worse (from 5.8 months with just carboplatin up to 8.6 months when gemcitabine was added).
 
Another study evaluated the effectiveness of gemcitabine for breast cancer. It was added to another chemotherapy medication, paclitaxel (Taxol®), in people with breast cancer who had already undergone breast cancer surgery and whose cancer had not responded to chemotherapy treatment with a different type of cancer medication (called anthracyclines). Adding gemcitabine increased the time until the breast cancer became worse (from 2.9 months for those taking just paclitaxel, up to 5.2 months with gemcitabine added).
 
Gemcitabine has also been studied for treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study compared gemcitabine combined with cisplatin (Platinol®) to just cisplatin alone. After one year, 39 percent of those who had taken the cisplatin plus gemcitabine combination were still living, compared to only 28 percent of those who had taken just cisplatin.
 
Two studies have looked at using gemcitabine for pancreatic cancer. One of these studies compared gemcitabine to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil®), while the other study looked at whether gemcitabine is effective in people who have already tried 5-fluorouracil unsuccessfully. In these studies, gemcitabine was more effective than 5-fluorouracil and could be used when 5-fluorouracil had failed.
 

When and How to Take It

Some general considerations for when and how to take gemcitabine include the following:
 
  • The medication is administered intravenously (through an IV).
     
  • Most people receive their injections at a healthcare provider's office, a hospital, or an infusion center.
     
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Gemcitabine will not work as well if you stop taking it before your healthcare provider recommends.
     
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Gemcitabine Drug Information

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