Lung Cancer Home > Alimta Side Effects
As a chemotherapy medication, Alimta can cause significant side effects. Vomiting, fatigue, and throat sores are some of the unpleasant reactions that may occur with the use of this drug. However, there are things that can help lower your risk of problems and treat any side effects of Alimta that occur, such as taking folic acid, vitamin B12 injections, or corticosteroid medications.
An Introduction to Alimta Side EffectsAs with any medicine, side effects are possible with Alimta® (pemetrexed). And as with most chemotherapy medications, the side effects can be significant. In many cases, your healthcare provider may recommend strategies or medications to help prevent or treat such problems.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible Alimta side effects. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)
Common Side Effects of AlimtaAlimta has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. These studies either used Alimta alone or in combination with another chemotherapy medication. The following list of percentages came from the studies that used Alimta alone, since it is difficult to separate the side effects caused by Alimta from those caused by the other chemotherapy medication.
In these studies, the most common side effects included:
- Fatigue -- in up to 34 percent of people (see Chemotherapy and Fatigue)
- Nausea -- up to 31 percent (see Chemotherapy and Nausea)
- Loss of appetite (anorexia) -- up to 22 percent
- Anemia -- up to 19 percent (see Chemotherapy and Anemia)
- Vomiting -- up to 16 percent
- Mouth or throat sores -- up to 15 percent (see Mouth and Gum Problems During Chemotherapy)
- Rash or peeling skin -- up to 14 percent
- Diarrhea -- up to 13 percent (see Chemotherapy-Induced Diarrhea)
- Low white blood cells -- up to 12 percent.
Other common side effects of Alimta (occurring in 5 to 11 percent of people) included:
- Low neutrophils (an important type of white blood cell)
- Increased liver enzymes (found using a blood test)
- Low blood platelets (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy)
- Constipation (see Constipation With Chemotherapy)
- Hair loss (see Alimta and Hair Loss)
- Nerve or sensory problems (see Nerve and Muscle Problems During Chemotherapy).