Gemzar – Information, Uses, Side Effects and Dosage


Drug trade name: Gemzar

Category: Antimetabolites for Chemotherapy

Generic name: gemcitabine hydrochloride

Introduction and Quick Information:


Gemzar is used alone or with other medicine/treatments to treat certain cancers. Gemzar is known as chemotherapy drug that acts by stopping or slowing the development of cancer cells in the body.

Gemzar is not prescribed for all types of cancer. It is useful in treating certain types of cancer like preventing growth of breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

This medicine is also used in combination with carboplatin for prevention of ovarian cancer.

Gemzar may have some other uses not listed in the medication guide

Is Gemzar Approved by U.S. FDA?

United States food and drug administration (FDA) has approved Gemzar on May 15, 1996, for prevention of certain cancers.

Usage and Benefits of Gemzar:

Gemzar is used for prevention of certain type of cancers. Gemzar is a part of chemotherapy medications group of drugs called as antimetabolites. Specifically, Gemzar is approved to treat following cancers such as-

  • Breast Cancer– Gemzar is prescribed in combination with paclitaxel to prevent metastatic breast cancer.
  • Pancreatic Cancer– Gemzar is approved to treat pancreatic cancer. This medicine is also used for treatment of pancreatic cancers in people who have tried 5-fluorouracil ineffectively.
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – For NSCLC Gemzar is used in combination with cisplatin.
  • Ovarian Cancer-Gemzar is prescribed in combination with carboplatin to prevent advanced ovarian cancer.

These are some major health issues treated and prevented by Gemzar.  This medicine is not approved to treat and prevent any of these cancers in children. At certain point, your doctor may prescribe this medicine for other issues not listed in this medication guide. Gemzar off-label uses include treatment of bladder cancer and mesothelioma.

Gemzar  Side Effects:

Gemzar side effects can be fatal and lead to other serious health issues or discomforts. However, you can easily prevent yourself from Gemzar side effects by following safety instruction given by your healthcare provider. Listed below are some medically known side effects of Gemzar:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness
  • Pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding
  • Unusual weakness
  • Pain, swelling
  • Flu symptoms, low fever
  • Hearing problems
  • Blood in your urine
  • Confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance
  • Breathing problems
  • Sores or white patches inside your mouth or on your lips
  • Stomach pain
  • Pain in chest with a heavy feeling
  • Sudden headache
  • Fever, chills, body aches
  • Less hunger
  • Discolored stools,
  • Nausea, sweating, general ill feeling
  • Dark urine, nausea
  • Pain in the shoulder spreading towards arm.
  • Urinating less than usual or not at all
  • Skin rash, upset stomach
  • Swelling of ankles, feet, hands
  • Numbness or tingly feeling
  • Mild nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Drowsiness, hair loss
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

This is not a complete list of Gemzar side effects. You may ask your doctor to get complete side effects and their associated adverse reactions. Make sure that you never ignore any of above-mentioned side effects as they can make your condition worse. Seek for immediate medical or doctor’s attention to escape from the adverse effects of Gemzar.


General Recommended Dosage of Gemzar:

Since Gemzar is prescribed for prevention of certain cancers (cancers come in deadly disease category) hence you should not try to play with dosage schedule. Your healthcare provider needs to test whether the medicine is suitable for you or not. Gemzar dosage depends on a number of factors such as-

  • You current health condition
  • Type of cancer you have
  • other medicines you have been taking
  • other health issues you may have

There are plenty of things that you must follow while taking this medicine. Here are some tips that you should know before taking this medication such as-

  • gemzar comes in injection form and injected by healthcare provider only
  • for better results, you should take the injection on dosing schedule
  • this medicine will not work if you stop the treatment in the middle
  • if you are unsure about the Gemzar benefits and risk then talk to your doctor

Important Notification- Never inject Gemzar all by yourself as it can only be injected by your healthcare provider and well-trained nurse. Wrongly injected Gemzar can producer adverse reaction to the body.

In Case I Miss The Dose?

Tell your healthcare provider if you missed an appointment of taking Gemzar injection. Missed dose consequences are not known.

In Case I Take Overdose?

Overdose of Gemzar is not likely to occur because Gemzar injection is only given by your doctor.

Overdose can only occur when you try to self-inject Gemzar injection. Overdose symptoms may include severe skin rash, tingly feeling, flu symptoms, numbness, chills and signs of infections.

Drug Interactions of Gemzar:

Gemzar can potentially interact with certain drugs. Drug interaction is a must discuss topic to know more about drug interaction risks and discomforts. Ask your doctor about list of drugs that you should not use while taking Gemzar. Here are some drugs that you should avoid while taking Gemzar such as-

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Nabumetone, Ibuprofen, Meloxicam, Etodolac, Ketoprofen, Oxaprozin, Indomethacin, Celecoxib, Ketorolac
  • “live” vaccines such as Chickenpox vaccine, yellow fever vaccine, MMR vaccine, rotavirus vaccine, BCG vaccine etc
  • Blood thinner such as warfarin

This is not a complete list of Gemzar drug interactions. There may be some other drugs that can potentially interact with Gemzar and lead to some interaction reactions.

Lifestyle and Food Habits You Must Follow When on Gemzar:

Do not take Gemzar if you have allergic reactions to gemcitabine or tell your doctor to prescribe an alternative to this medicine. Food and lifestyle habits depend on severity of your condition. Tell your doctor if you have any of these health conditions such as-

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • If you are being treated by any radiation therapy

Do not drink alcohol, smoke and related things as they can make your condition worse day by day and can make Gemzar ineffective as well.

How Safe Is Gemzar for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?

 It has been categorized in US FDA pregnancy category D.Gemzar can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not take this medicine without informing your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Use an effective form of contraceptive medicine and tell your doctor if you want to get pregnant while taking this medicine. Do not breastfeed a baby without telling your doctor as it could be harmful to both mother and breastfeeding baby.

Complications and Conditions Possible Due to Prolonged Use of Gemzar:

Since this medicine is directly injected by your healthcare provider hence there is no chance to take this medicine longer than recommended.

Availability of Gemzar:

Gemzar is not available without a doctor’s prescription. You can buy Gemzar from FDA approved drug stores. Now you can purchase this medicine from several online drug stores with a reasonable price tag.