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Question on Alimta


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After my mom's surgery (where they were hoping to remove what was left of the cancer and ended up seeing slightly more than they though), they opted for follow up chemo.

The onc said the surgeon had the foresight to test the cancer to see if it would be the type to be receptive to Tarceva ... it was determined that it would not have been.

Instead, he put on her six rounds of Alimta (she has had four of those thus far).

She has had no side effects from this at all ... even her blood levels have stayed fine, which was NOT the case when she was on her original Carbo/Gemzar regime.

Does anyone know much about Alimta? I see alot of people on this site on Avastin.

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I have been only of the above at some point. Alimta was one I had more trouble with as the treatments went on. The nurses and the doctors were surprised I had trouble with it. It is suppose to be one of the easiest non-targeted chemo. Before I could have the last treatment, #5 I think, I had to have a four week break and antibiotics. So be careful with any fevers.

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Thanks for the replies ... my mom has had no effect to the white/red blood cells as she did with Carbo/Gemzar.

Dr. West mentioned it helping taking B12 with it ... my mom is on B12 every day and takes a steroid the day before, day of, and day after her chemo. She does have the fatigue days after, but the doc mentioned that isn't so much the chemo as it is the the effect of stopping a steroid after three days (it's like a crash).

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Hi, I just finished the 3 alimta treatments (1 every 21 days) and will get a chest/abd contrast CT scan next week to see results. If improvement, I will be able to take 3 more Alimta, if no change (or worse) I get nothing. The guidelines are very strict for giving Alimta. I feel like the person who felt great for the 1st 5 days or so, then had extreme fatigue and SOB. I was extremely anemic, so got procrit for 3 weeks, and that helped. I take folic acid 400mg am and pm daily, as that helps activate the Alimta (cancer cells like all of our good cells need folic acid, they cant utilize it so come to the toxin to "steal" the folic acid (anyway, that's how I visualize it :) I take steroid 2 days after treatment (steroid given in IV time of treatment), had 1 B-12 at beginning of treatment, none since.

I am 74 y/o, a year and half into diagnosis and treatment. I had 4 months of carbo/gemzar and then 40 radiation treatments. I tolerated all very well, changes in blood corrected with medication. I was surprised when doc told me it had been 9 months since end of first treatment! Wow, where does the time go? He couldnt give the carbo gemzar combo, because it is only 20% effective 2nd time. His aim is to keep me feeling good, and actually, I do. So, the good Lord willin and the crick dont rise, I am still kicking butt.

Good luck and God Bless all of you. Your friend in San Antonio, Barbara

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The majority of my patients tolerate alimta quite well. I consider it among the agents that tends to have one of the best balances of activity vs. side effects. That said, a minority of patients feel quite tired or otherwise lousy, but most are just modestly tired, and quite a few report feeling essentially no side effects.

The official guidelines for Alimta include giving supplemental B12 and folate, which pretty significantly cuts down the degree of blood cell declines and some other side effects, and it appears to only help in terms of good drug effects as well. B12 is generally given as an intramuscular (hip) injection every 9 weeks, and folate is a pill supplement every day.

-Dr. West

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Thanks for your responses. My mom continues to do well on Alimta ... her blood work was great last Thursday so on 4/26 she'll have her fifth of sixth treatments.

I can't imagine the waiting for her next scan results. Just knowing how devastated my mom will be if what "lit up" on her last scan is the cancer back. I know she'll give up. If they're good, I'm going to surprise her with a trip to celebrate!!! Maybe if they're not good, too!

Bless all of you for being here.

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