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Gemcitabine

Uses

This chemotherapeutic drug is used in combination with other medications to treat the following conditions:

-Pancreatic cancer
-Advanced ovarian cancer
-Cancer of the gallbladder
-Male breast cancer with metastasis
-Adenocarcinoma of the primary peritoneum
-Small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) 

IUPAC name: 4-amino-1-[(2R,4R,5R)-3,3-difluoro-4-hydroxy-5-(hydroxymethyl)oxolan-2-yl]pyrimidin-2-one

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Drug class: Antineoplastic agent; Antimetabolite

Route of administration: Intravenous

Is it a drug that needs a prescription? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

Gemcitabine works by inhibiting the synthesis of DNA (genetic material) of malignant cells. This prevents the growth of cancerous cells in your body.

Side effects

Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, diarrhea, sore throat/mouth, muscle pain, tingling in the hands and feet, drowsiness, swelling/pain/redness at the injection site, and hair loss.

Serious side effects

Yellowing of skin/eyes, dizziness, swelling of the face/feet/arms/ankles, unusual fatigue, fainting, severe headache, seizures, shortness of breath, dark urine, vision changes, abnormally fast heart rate, anemia, blood in urine or stools, change in the amount of urine, rash/itching.

Precautions

Take the following precautions before using this drug and notify your doctor:

If you are allergic to it, or if you have any other allergies,

If you are taking any other medications (prescribed, non-prescribed, or herbal products),

If you have a history of renal issues, hepatic disease, abnormal heart rate, heart failure, radiation therapy,

Limit alcohol consumption, as it makes you drowsy.

Avoid contact with people who have communicable disease.

Use of this medication is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

If you wish to get pregnant consult your doctor.

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