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Long term use of Gemzar


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My husband has been on Gemzar for 1 full year now. He started out receiving treatment 3 times per month then his blood counts started dropping and he went to 2 times per month. This last month, his platelet and RBC's have dropped so much that he has only been able to get in 1 dose in the last 3 weeks. Obviously I'm very concerned that without the treatment, his cancer will once again start to grow. Has anyone else been on Gemzar this long and if so, how did you combat the low blood counts?

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ususally during chemo when the Blood counts drop a doctor will prescribe Aranesp for red blood cells or Neulasta for white blood cell counts. Or of course a blood transfusion for red blood cell levels. Glad the Gemazar has worked for so long though. HTat should leave quite a few options open down the road in case!!!

Prayers and thoughts for You and Hubby! My wife had gemazar but not for that long though!!

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I don't think I've read of anyone else here ever being on Gemzar that long. This is a new one for me. My husband was on it and it worked well but he was switched to something else after a few cycles (can't remember exactly how many he had).


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Hi Karla,

My husband was on Taxotere/Gemzar every 21 days (both day 1 and gemzar only day 7) for nine months -- 12 cycles. He started Procrit for the hemoglobin and Neulasta for the WBC in the third cycle. (That was after 8- 21 day cycles of Carbo/Taxol with no blood enhancers.) I made sure he was taking an iron supplement too. Have him eat iron rich foods. I don't know how much it helps, but it sure can't hurt. Just watch the constipation factor with more iron. Some people do better with blood counts than others and there isn't any reason why. Platelets were rarely a problem for him, as I recall, because he never missed a treatment.

Are they giving him Procrit and Neulasta? Procrit is like the big brother of Aranesp, just like Neulasta is the big brother of Neupogen. When chemo is given on a more frequent schedule, the oncologist will frequently utilize Aranesp and Neupogen, because they are able to tweak the little ones to fit the counts better without blasting them.

There is a finite amount of work that bone marrow will do to regenerate blood cells when it's under attack. He may need a break or a switch in treatment regimens. It's not the end of the world, there are more options available if he must go off Gemzar. My husband went back to Gemzar as salvage 6th line treatment, because it had still been working when he took a chemo break. So, that's always a possibility down the line. My own moronic theory is that it's good to confuse the cancer by switching up regimens if one gets too tough. Has he tried Navelbine? Very, very easy on the body, but worked wonders for my husband.

Good luck with this issue.


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