Gemcitabine (Gemzar)

The basics

Gemcitabine (brand name- Gemzar) is an FDA-approved treatment used with carboplatin for ovarian cancer (cancer that begins in the female reproductive organs where eggs are formed) that returned at least six months after finishing a previous treatment. It is combined with paclitaxel (Abraxane, Taxol) to treat breast cancer. Gemcitabine is combined with cisplatin to treat lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer; NSCLC). It is also used to treat pancreatic cancer.

Gemcitabine is in a class of medications called antimetabolites. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.

Let us walk you through the key things you need to know about Gemcitabine

How should I take gemcitabine (Gemzar)?

Patient getting IV chemotherapy

Gemcitabine comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid to be injected over 30 minutes intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility. Your doctor may need to stop or delay your treatment if you experience certain side effects.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

Do not stop taking Gemcitabine without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.

What are the side effects of gemcitabine (Gemzar)?

Common side effects

Serious side effects

Gemcitabine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Use the free Ankr platform or Ankr app to track your symptoms.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving gemcitabine (Gemzar)

  • tell your doctor about your allergies
  • tell your doctor about other intakes
  • tell your doctor if you have or ever had any other disease, symptom, treatment
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or if you plan to father a child. Talk to your doctor about using birth control to prevent pregnancy during your treatment with gemcitabine.

While you are on gemcitabine (Gemzar)

  • If you or your partner become pregnant while receiving gemcitabine, call your doctor. Gemcitabine may harm the fetus.
  • tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed while you are receiving gemcitabine injection and for 1 week after your final dose.
  • you should know that this medication may decrease fertility in men. Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving gemcitabine.

In case of an emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

Brand names

  • Gemzar®

Last Revised – 06/15/2023, FDA updated- 08/15/2019, SG

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DISCLAIMER: No part of this content constitutes medical advice, opinion, or should be used for medical decision making without consultation with a licenced medical practitioner and under a patient-provider relationship. All information on the website is provided without any claims of accuracy. For full terms and conditions, visit this link. Content curated by the Ankr team.

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