What Are the Uses of Carboplatin and Pemetrexed?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Patients taking carboplatin and pemetrexed should eat healthy meals.
Patients taking carboplatin and pemetrexed should eat healthy meals.

Carboplatin and pemetrexed are medications prescribed to treat certain types of cancer. They may be prescribed together or a patient may take only one of them. Carboplatin is typically used to treat ovarian cancer, however a doctor may also prescribe it for other types of cancer, such as lung, testicular, or bladder cancer. Pemetrexed is primarily prescribed for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, which is a cancer that attacks the chest cavity's lining, as well as non-small cell lung cancer.

These medications work in different ways to halt the growth of cancer cells. Pemetrexed is an antifolate antineoplastic agent, which means that it helps block the reproductive action of cancerous cells. Carboplatin is a platinum-containing compound that may help to decrease the growth of cancer cells or stop them altogether.

Both of these anti-cancer drugs are given by injection into a vein by a doctor. The exact dosage and the length of the treatment will vary, depending on the needs of each individual patient. Pemetrexed, for example, is typically given every 21 days. The doctor will monitor each patient closely for his response to the treatment. Blood tests are used throughout the treatment to evaluate the efficacy of the dosages.

Certain precautions should be followed while taking carboplatin and pemetrexed. Those using pemetrexed will likely take vitamin supplements and a corticosteroid drug to alleviate some of the side effects. Patients using any chemotherapy drug should not receive a vaccination without the approval of their doctors. They should get plenty of rest, consume sufficient fluids, and eat healthy meals. Those who suffer from nausea should eat smaller meals more frequently.

Some side effects are likely to occur while using carboplatin and pemetrexed, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become severe. Patients may experience nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, along with constipation, weight loss, and fatigue. Changes in taste and vision, numbness or tingling in the fingertips, and dizziness can also occur. In addition, pemetrexed can also cause insomnia, changes in mood, and a fast heartbeat.

More serious side effects require a doctor's urgent care. These can include signs of a possible infection, such as a fever, chills, and sore throat. Severe dizziness, fainting, and slow or difficult speech can also occur, along with sores in the mouth, chest pain, and unusual bruising or bleeding. Patients may also experience red urine, hearing loss, and shortness of breath, along with pain in the back or side. A rash, decreased urination, and weakness or numbness of a limb can also be cause for concern.

Before using carboplatin and pemetrexed, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. With both of these medications, there is a serious risk of harm to a nursing infant or an unborn baby. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use them. These drugs may be contraindicated for use by those with liver or kidney disease. Carboplatin and pemetrexed may interact with other medicines, including aspirin, streptomycin, and vitamins.

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    • Patients taking carboplatin and pemetrexed should eat healthy meals.
      By: B. and E. Dudzinscy
      Patients taking carboplatin and pemetrexed should eat healthy meals.