Pemetrexed (Alimta)

The basics

Pemetrexed (brand name- Alimta) is an FDA-approved treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to nearby tissues or to other parts of the body. Pemetrexed is also in combination with another chemotherapy medication as a first treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (a type of cancer that affects the inside lining of the chest cavity) in people who cannot be treated with surgery.

It is in a class of medications called antifolate antineoplastic agents. It works by blocking the action of a certain substance in the body that may help cancer cells multiply.

Let us wlak you through the key things you need to know about pemetrexed.

How should I take pemetrexed (Alimta)?

Pemetrexed injection is injected into a vein over 10 minutes by a Doctor or nurse in a medical office or infusion center. It is usually given once every 21 days.

Patient getting IV chemotherapy

Your doctor will probably tell you to take other medications, such as folic acid (a vitamin), vitamin B12, and a corticosteroid such as dexamethasone to decrease some of the side effects of this medication. Your Doctor may change your dose of pemetrexed injection, delay treatment, or permanently stop your treatment based on the results of the blood tests.

Be sure to talk to your Doctor about how you feel during your treatment. Do not stop taking treatment without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.

What are the side effects of Pemetrexed (Alimta)?

Common side effects

Serious side effects

  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • chest pain
  • fast heartbeat
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • slow or difficult speech
  • extreme tiredness or weakness
  • dizziness or faintness
  • weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
  • pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • headache
  • decreased urination

Pemetrexed injection 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 pemetrexed (Alimta)

  • tell your doctor about your allergies
  • tell your doctor about other intakes
  • tell your doctor if you have had radiation therapy or have or have ever had any other disease, symptom, or treatment
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or if you plan to father a child. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that will work for you.

While you are on pemetrexed (Alimta)

  • If you or your partner becomes pregnant while using this medication, call your doctor. Pemetrexed injection may harm the fetus.
  • tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed during your treatment with pemetrexed injection and for 1 week after the final dose.
  • you should know that pemetrexed injection may cause fertility problems in males that may affect your ability to father a child. It is not known if these effects are reversible. Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving pemetrexed injection.

I forgot a dose. What should I do?

If you miss an appointment to receive a dose of pemetrexed injection, call your doctor as soon as possible.

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.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

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

Brand names

  • Alimta®

Last Revised – 06/21/2023, FDA updated-04/15/2019, 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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