The gemcitabine is an anticancer drug. Its mechanism of action is to block the creation of cellular DNA , thanks to its two active metabolites (difluorodeoxydicitidindifosfato and difluorodeoxydicitidintrifosfato) is able to destroy the cells against which it is directed.
What is Gemcitabine used for?
Gemcitabine is an antineoplastic drug (against tumors) from the group of pyrimidine antimetabolites. It is administered for the treatment of various malignancies or tumors , in particular for:
- bladder cancer
- breast cancer
- carcinoma of the ovary
- non-small cell lung cancer
- pancreatic cancer
It can be administered alone or in combination with other anticancer drugs.
How is Gemcitabine taken?
Gemcitabine is assumed:
- by infusion into a vein
- through catheter
- intravesical (via catheter)
Side effects of Gemcitabine
Like all chemotherapy drugs , Gemcitabine also causes fatigue ( asthenia ) and decreased appetite in those who take it , which can occur in a mild or severe form. Fatigue can be linked to anemia. Side effects occur differently from subject to subject, based on individual tolerance.
Among the most common recognized side effects are listed:
- temporary reduction in the production of blood cells by the bone marrow (the decrease in red blood cells causes the decrease in hemoglobin and therefore anemia; the decrease in white blood cells facilitates the onset of infections; the decrease in platelets causes bruising or bleeding ). Blood cell counts start to rise steadily and usually normalize within 21-28 days of starting therapy
- nausea and vomiting
- flu-like symptoms
Less frequent recognized side effects are:
- temporary reduction in liver function (which will normalize anyway at the end of the treatment);
- skin changes: rashes similar to acne , which can itch;
- pain or ulcers of the oral cavity, with or without modest changes in taste;
- diarrhea ;
- hair loss;
- changes in kidney function (occasional and reversible).
Contraindications and warnings on the use of Gemcitabine
Some drugs may interfere with Gemcitabine-based treatment : it is therefore good to communicate to the treating oncologist which drugs are regularly taken and consult it before taking new drugs.
Beware of solar radiation ; Since chemotherapy drugs spread through all the bloodstream through the bloodstream, including the skin, prolonged contact with solar radiation can cause redness, even serious, and burns. Regarding breastfeeding , breastfeeding is not recommended during Gemcitabine therapy