Jump to content

Alimta Update


Recommended Posts

HI to all--

I just updated my profile to current status. So if you're interested you can check it out.

After 5 cycles of Gemzar/carboplatin and some radiation I had my first Alimta treatment at end of June. I had a seemingly unrelated infection shortly after that so further Alimta was on hold until recently (Sep 13) when I received the 2nd cycle.

Four days later I was knocked out with nausea, weakness, extreme SOB. Admitted to hospital with pneumonia on 9/21. Released on 9/28 after 7 days of IV antibiotics. Still weak. Still very SOB.

I don't understand the extreme SOB. My counts are normal. My blood oxygen is near normal--93%. There has been no significant change in the pleural effusion. The pneumonia seems to be mostly gone.

Has anyone else experienced otherwise inexplicable extreme SOB as a side effect of Alimta?

It's beginning to look like Alimta is not for me. Would appreciate any informed feedback.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi BC,

My husband has his first, and only, round of Alimta on August 23rd. He began experience severe shortness of breath about 10 days later and it has been a constant problem since. His blood oxygen levels are also above 92% and the oncologist has no explanation other than to tell us it "could" be the progression of the disease. Sorry I don't have any more information for you, but I do hope that your SOB eases up as I know it can be very scary.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey BC

Glad to see you back but sorry to hear about the problems with Alimta. As you can see by my BIO, I had 6 Alimta treatments with some success after the 4th one. Your side effects are identical to what I had. It is definitely the Alimta that caused my SOB and probably yours too. It took a good 2 months of being off it to get rid of the SOB. I've got some SOB now, but it doesn't restrict my activities. I walk 2 miles every day, mow the lawn, play golf and go fishing often.

If the Alimta isn't for you, I hope the Doc will come up with an alternate plan. Let us know. If I can provide any more info, don't hesitate to ask. Pulling for ya my friend. 'Good Luck.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi BC,

I've just had my 4th Alimta treatment. The first treatment I had an extremely bad rash, not sure if it was the Alimta or the combination of pain meds I was on. The second treatment I started running a fever and spent 6 days in the hospital, pneumonia.

The third treatment went really well, just some mild nausea, muscle aches and weakness for the first 6-7 days and then just fatigued after that. So far the fourth one is treating me the same as the third.

SOB is not a problem for me. I know Peggy's husband Don was on Alimta and experienced alot of SOB, turns out the chemo damaged his aveoli in his lungs. Talk to your doctor about this.

Hope they can find another treatment for you very soon.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I attended a seminar at the U of MN two weekends ago about Living after cancer.

One of the things that was mentioned that they say they are following is what Chemo does to the heart once you complete treatments. They stated that heart problems did accure in cancer patients after chemo.

So, my thought would be with the SOB, could it be heart related? As if we don't have enough to deal with and worry about regarding side effects from Meds! :roll:

Could it be radiation pneumonitis? That will cause SOB!

Good luck I sure hope this all works out for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear bc,

First of all, thank you TAnn for posting what the Alimta did to Don. I didn't know whether to post aobut it because I didn't want to scare you, bc.

My husband never had any SOB for any reason until Alimta. It started after the 2nd infusion. After the 3rd infusion, he was hospitalized for tests to determine the cause of the SOB. A CT scan revealed the alveoli damage, so I would suggest you tell your onc about this ASAP and get a CT scan before you get another infusion. After my husband's 3rd infusion, the damage was so extensive that there was no chance of recovery. An open lung biopsy was done and two sections of his good lung were taken. Two opinions on the biopsy report said the same thing: severe alveoli damage most likely caused by chemotherapy.

BC, please, please get a CT before you get another infusion. The reaction is very rare, but can be deadly. Many other have done really well with Alimta - like Trisha's husband.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


I don't like to post negative things, but my husband, definitely developed pneumonitis when he was on Alimta. He had good results as far as some shrinkage and then stability, but his breathing was progressively affected from early on. Even when he started having the pneumonitis , the pulmnologist thought it was a bacterial infection and gave him an antibiotic. His breathing was gradually worsening and then it became very bad almost over night. It was the CT scan that showed it as a ground glass pattern on the lung. High doses of prednisone are given for it , as well as using oxygen . The prednisone cleared the pneumonitis, but he was left not being able to breathe as well as he had before. I hope this isn't what is happening with you , but it is treatable and it is good to be aware that it can happen. Sure hope you get answers.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

bc, no useful information for you re: the drugs, but I just wanted to add my voice to the support expressed here for you. my mom just came through a round of pneumonia and it was the pits for her, so I am very glad to hear that seems to be resolving.

please let us know if there's anything we can do to support you.



(from Queens, the new Brooklyn :wink: )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have any words of wisdom concerning Alitma but I really appreciate all the responces as my husband has had SOB and other concerns that I didn't realize could be from the chemo.

Also CONNIE I would like more info on heart problems with chemo if you have any...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to all for the feedback, greetings, good wishes, etc.

I think I'm feeling somewhat better after the TKO by Alimta. My onc and I concluded that I cannot tolerate Alimta. That's for sure.

So now it's one pill a day of Tarceva. We'll see how this works.

Here's hoping for good juju for all of us...

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Best of luck with Tarceva. Lots have been getting good results. Hope you are one. Also hope you start to feeling better and get rid of that pesty pneumonia once and for all!

Please come back and keep us updated. We wonder when you disappear for long periods of time, you know?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

bc, I am sitting here with my fingers and toes and every other movable body part crossed that Tarceva works it's magic on you. And I'm really glad to know you are feeling a little better. Sometimes even just a little bit better can make the difference between wanting to keep on trucking and not.

Hang in there...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.