Lung Cancer Home > Alimta Dosage

When starting treatment with Alimta, the recommended dose is 500 mg for every square meter of your body's surface area. The dosage is given by IV over 10 minutes, usually once every 21 days. Regardless of the amount of your Alimta dosage, you will also need to take folic acid, vitamin B12, and a corticosteroid to supplement your treatment.

An Introduction to Dosing With Alimta

The dose of Alimta® (pemetrexed) your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
  • Your body surface area, which is calculated using your height and weight
  • How you respond to this medication, especially if you develop any serious side effects.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dosage unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.

Alimta Dosages for Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma

The recommended starting dose of Alimta for treating non-squamous, non-small-cell lung cancer or malignant pleural mesothelioma is 500 mg/m2 given by IV over 10 minutes, usually once every 21 days.
The "500 mg/m2" dosage might look a little odd to people unaccustomed to chemotherapy medication dosing; it basically means that 500 mg of Alimta is given for every square meter of body surface area. Your healthcare provider will calculate your body surface area using your height and weight.
If you do not tolerate Alimta well, your healthcare provider may need to lower the dosage, or perhaps even delay your next treatment.

General Information on Your Dose of Alimta

Some considerations to keep in mind when taking Alimta include the following:
  • Alimta comes as an injection. It is injected slowly (infused) into a vein. Each infusion takes about 10 minutes. In most cases, you will receive one infusion every 21 days.
  • You must take 400 to 1000 mcg of folic acid (as recommended by your healthcare provider) for 7 days before your Alimta infusion and continue until at least 21 days after your last dose.
  • You must also receive an intramuscular vitamin B12 injection while taking this medication. You should get your first vitamin B12 injection one week before your first Alimta infusion and then once after every three dosages of Alimta (usually about once every nine weeks for most people).
  • Your healthcare provider may recommend a vitamin B12 injection the same day as each additional Alimta treatment.
  • You must take the corticosteroid medication dexamethasone 4 mg 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.
  • If you are unsure about anything related to your dosage or Alimta dosing in general, please talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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