What Is Gemcitabine Used For?

How Does Gemcitabine Work?

Gemcitabine is part of a group of medications called antimetabolites. Antimetabolites are medications that are very similar to naturally occurring chemicals in the body that cells use to build DNA and other important parts of the cell. Antimetabolites are similar enough to these chemicals that cells mistake them for the real chemicals, using them to build DNA. However, antimetabolites are different enough that DNA (or other cell structures) built using them will not function properly. Since DNA is essential for cells to grow and multiply, antimetabolite medications prevent cell growth and multiplication and may cause cell death.
 
While gemcitabine can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. Generally, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells and are therefore more affected by gemcitabine.
 

Gemcitabine Uses in Children

Gemcitabine is not approved for treating cancer in children. Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using gemcitabine in children. A few studies have shown that gemcitabine may not be effective for treating leukemia in children.
 

Off-Label Gemcitabine Uses

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend gemcitabine for something other than the condition listed in this article. Currently, off-label gemcitabine uses can include the treatment of the following cancers:
 
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Gemcitabine Drug Information

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