This product is manufactured by Eli Lilly using the ingredient pemetrexed.

This product is taken via intravenous injection.

Why is it prescribed?

Pemetrexed is used to treat nonsquamous locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).  It can be used as:

  • Initial treatment in combination with cisplatin.
  • Maintenance treatment given alone immediately after four cycles of platinum-based first-line chemotherapy.
  • Second line treatment given alone after prior chemotherapy.


To lower your chances of experiencing harmful side effects, it is important for you to take the following medication and vitamins prior to and/or during your treatment with Alimta®.

  • Your doctor will prescribe a medicine called a corticosteroid *such as dexamethasone) to take the day before, the day of, and the day after Alimta® treatment. This lowers your chances for getting skin reactions with Alimta®
  • To prevent possible toxicity from Alimta®, you must start taking 350- 600 micrograms of folic acid every day for at least 5 days out of the 7 days before your first dose. You must keep taking folic acid every day during the time you are getting treatment with Alimta® and for 21 days after your last treatment.  Also, you will receive vitamin B12 injections while you are getting treatment with Alimta®. You will get your first vitamin B12 injection during the week before your first dose of Alimta®, and then about every 9 weeks during treatment until 3 weeks after the last dose..

You will have regular blood tests before and during your treatment with Alimta®. Your doctor may adjust your dose or delay treatment based on the results of your blood tests and on your general condition.




Other products that have the same ingredient as Alimta® are •Taro-Pemetrexed injection •

See other products used in the treatment of •non-small cell lung cancer •

Alimta® is slowly infused (injected) into a vein. The usual dosage is 500mg/m2 of body surface area given over 10 minutes. It is usually administered once every 21 days.
It may be given alone or in combination with cisplatin, another anti-cancer agent.

Pemetrexed is an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug. It is classified as an antifolate antimetabolite medication.  Pemetrexed acts by disrupting production of folate within the cancer cells which is essential for cell growth.

Most common side effects:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

Less common side effects:

  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Stomatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Low blood cell count
  • Sore throat
  • Rash, skin irritation

Side effects requiring medical attention:

  • Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection)
  • Severe vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period).
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools.
  • Blood in the urine and/or pain or burning with urination.
  • Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities).
  • Constipation unrelieved by laxative use.
  • Signs of infection such as redness or swelling, pain on swallowing, coughing up mucous, or painful urination.
  • Unable to eat or drink for 24 hours or have signs of dehydration: tiredness, thirst, dry mouth, dark and decrease amount of urine, or dizziness.
  • Depression

Do not take pemetrexed if you:

  • are allergic to pemetrexed or any of the ingredients in this medication
  • have just had or are going to receive the Yellow Fever vaccine.

Discuss use of pemetrexed with your physician or pharmacist if:

  • you have a kidney disease.
  • you have a liver disease.
  • you have a heart problem.
  • you have ever had radiation therapy

Male patients should not father a child during use of pemetrexed and for up to 6 months after stopping the treatment. 

Drugs Interactions - Discuss use of the following medications with your physician or pharmacist:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib)

Use in pregnancy: Pemetrexed may cause negative effects to the fetus.  Use in pregnancy is not advised

Use in breastfeeding:  It is not known if pemetrexed is passed to the baby in breastmilk.  Because of the potential toxicity of pemetrexed, use in breastfeeding is not advised.

Page Last Updated: 08/11/2021