Lung Cancer Home > Alimta Uses

Alimta is licensed for the treatment of mesothelioma and non-squamous, non-small-cell lung cancer in adults. For people who are not good candidates for surgery as part of their cancer treatment, the drug may be used in combination with cisplatin (another anticancer medicine). In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend using Alimta "off-label" to treat other types of cancer.

What Is Alimta Used For?

Alimta® (pemetrexed) is a prescription chemotherapy medication used to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma and non-squamous, non-small-cell lung cancer.
 

Using Alimta for Non-Squamous, Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

There are two general types of lung cancer: small-cell lung cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer. Non-small-cell lung cancer is much more common than small-cell lung cancer. In addition, non-small-cell lung cancer spreads more slowly than small-cell lung cancer.
 
Non-small-cell lung cancers can be further divided into those that begin in squamous cells (squamous cell carcinomas) and those that begin elsewhere (non-squamous carcinomas).
 
Surgery is the most common way to treat non-small-cell lung cancer. Cryosurgery, a treatment that freezes and destroys cancer tissue, may be used to control symptoms in the later stages of non-small-cell lung cancer. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be used to slow the progress of this type of cancer and to manage symptoms.
 
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Alimta may be given with another anticancer drug called cisplatin, depending on whether you have had previous treatment for your lung cancer and whether this is your initial treatment with Alimta. Your healthcare provider will recommend the specific chemotherapy regimen that is best for you and your type of cancer.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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