Gemcitabine or Gemzar is a drug that can be administered either on its own or in combination with cisplatin or carboplatin. The route of administration is intravenous.

The administration schedule is generally (both in combination and in monotherapy) 1-8-21, or administered on the first day, then after 7 days and then after a 14-day break.

Main side effects of Gemcitabine Gemzar

Very common side effects (seen in more than 1 in 10 patients)

  • Reduced ability of the bone marrow to produce blood cells, which can increase the risk of infections, decrease the ability of blood to clot or cause anemia. When gemcitabine is combined with other chemotherapy drugs, these side effects could be potentially serious or endanger your life. It may require transfusion of blood cells due to anemia or hemorrhage, treatment of infections and/or drug administration to stimulate bone marrow reformation.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Change in liver function test values.
  • Presence of proteins and blood in the urine.
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, back pain, chills, muscle pain, asthenia (weakness), and anorexia. These are generally mild to moderate. Coughs, rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal tract), general malaise, sweating and difficulty sleeping have also been reported.
  • Allergic-type skin rash, often accompanied by itching.
  • Slight dyspnea (shortness of breath).
  • Peripheral edema (swelling of hands and/or feet); occasionally there may be facial edema.
  • Alopecia (hair loss), generally light with minimal hair loss.

Common side effects (found in 1-10 patients out of 100)

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Asthenia (weakness)
  • Stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth), potentially with ulcerations
  • Drowsiness

Uncommon side effects (seen in 1-10 patients for every 1,000)

  • Bronchospasm (wheezing), generally light and transient but may require treatment.

Rare side effects (seen in less than one in 1,000 patients) or very rare side effects (seen in less than one in 10,000 patients).

  • Skin desquamation (skin peeling).
  • Skin ulceration or blistering.
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure).
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS, severe pulmonary dysfunction), interstitial pneumonia (lung inflammation), and pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs).
  • Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS, which consists of anemia, reduced platelets and decreased kidney function).
  • Kidney failure.
  • Cardiovascular disorders including myocardial infarction (heart attack) congestive heart failure (decreased heart function) and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
  • Anaphylactoid reaction (hypersensitivity reactions).
  • Thrombocythemia (increased platelets).
  • Paresthesia (slight numbness or tingling in the arms and/or legs) and severe liver damage have also been reported.

– Chemotherapy