Drugs Details

Drugs Info of Gemzar
Drugs Details
  • Drugs Type  : Multum
  • Date : 27th Jan 2015 02:54 am
  • Brand Name : Gemzar
  • Generic Name : gemcitabine (Pronunciation: jem SYE ta been
Descriptions

Gemzar (gemcitabine for injection, USP) is a nucleoside metabolic inhibitor that exhibits antitumor activity. Gemcitabine HCl is 2´-deoxy-2´,2´-difluorocytidine monohydrochloride (β-isomer). The structural formula is as follows:

 

GEMZAR (gemcitabine) Structural Formula Illustration

The empirical formula for gemcitabine HCl is C9H11F2N3O4 • HCl. It has a molecular weight of 299.66.

Gemcitabine HCl is soluble in water, slightly soluble in methanol, and practically insoluble in ethanol and polar organic solvents.

Gemzar is supplied in a sterile form for intravenous use only. Vials of Gemzar contain either 200 mg or 1 g of gemcitabine HCl (expressed as free base) formulated with mannitol (200 mg or 1 g, respectively) and sodium acetate (12.5 mg or 62.5 mg, respectively) as a sterile lyophilized powder. Hydrochloric acid and/or sodium hydroxide may have been added for pH adjustment.

What are the possible side effects of gemcitabine (Gemzar)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general...

Read All Potential Side Effects and See Pictures of Gemzar »

What are the precautions when taking gemcitabine hcl (Gemzar)?

Before using gemcitabine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: bone marrow problems (e.g., leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia), heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat, heart failure), kidney problems, liver problems, radiation therapy.

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine.

Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.

To lower the chance...

Read All Potential Precautions of Gemzar »


This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Indications

Ovarian Cancer

Gemzar in combination with carboplatin is indicated for the treatment of patients with advanced ovarian cancer that has relapsed at least 6 months after completion of platinum-based therapy.

Breast Cancer

Gemzar in combination with paclitaxel is indicated for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer after failure of prior anthracycline-containing adjuvant chemotherapy, unless anthracyclines were clinically contraindicated.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Gemzar is indicated in combination with cisplatin for the first-line treatment of patients with inoperable, locally advanced (Stage IIIA or IIIB), or metastatic (Stage IV) non-small cell lung cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer

Gemzar is indicated as first-line treatment for patients with locally advanced (nonresectable Stage II or Stage III) or metastatic (Stage IV) adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Gemzar is indicated for patients previously treated with 5-FU.

Dosage Administration

Ovarian Cancer

Recommended Dose and Schedule

The recommended dose of Gemzar is 1000 mg/m² as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes on Days 1 and 8 of each 21-day cycle, in combination with carboplatin AUC 4 intravenously after Gemzar administration on Day 1 of each 21-day cycle. Refer to carboplatin prescribing information for additional information.

Dose Modifications

Recommended Gemzar dose modifications for myelosuppression are described Table 1 and Table 2 [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Refer to Dosage and Administration (2.5) for recommendations for non-hematologic adverse reactions.

Table 1: Dosage Reduction Guidelines for Gemzar for Myelosuppression on Day of Treatment in Ovarian Cancer

Treatment Day Absolute granulocyte count (x 106/L)   Platelet count (x 106/L) % of full dose
Day 1 ≥ 1500 and ≥ 100,000 100% Delay Treatment Cycle
< 1500 or < 100,000
Day 8 ≥ 1500 and ≥ 100,000 100
1000-1499 or 75,000-99,999 50
< 1000 or < 75,000 Hold

Table 2: Gemzar Dose Modification for Myelosuppression in Previous Cycle In Ovarian Cancer

Occurrence Myelosuppression During Treatment Cycle Dose Modification
Initial Occurrence Absolute granulocyte count less than 500 x 106/L for more than 5 days
Absolute granulocyte count less than 100 x 106/L for more than 3 days
Febrile neutropenia
Platelets less than 25,000x106/L
Cycle delay of more than one week due to toxicity
Permanently reduce Gemzar to 800 mg/m² on Days 1 and 8
Subsequent Occurrence If any of the above toxicities occur after the initial dose reduction Permanently reduce Gemzar dose to 800 mg/m² on Day 1 only

Breast Cancer

Recommended Dose and Schedule

The recommended dose of Gemzar is 1250 mg/m² intravenously over 30 minutes on Days 1 and 8 of each 21-day cycle that includes paclitaxel. Paclitaxel should be administered at 175 mg/m² on Day 1 as a 3 hour intravenous infusion before Gemzar administration.

Dose Modifications

Recommended dose modifications for Gemzar for myelosuppression are described in Table 3 [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Refer to Dose Modifications for Non-Hematologic Adverse Reactions..

Table 3: Recommended Dose Reductions for Gemzar for Myelosuppression on Day of Treatment in Breast Cancer

Treatment Day Absolute granulocyte count (x 106/L)   Platelet count (x 106/L) % of full dose
Day 1 ≥ 1500 and ≥ 100,000 100%
less than 1500 or less than 100,000 Hold
Day 8 ≥ 1200 and > 75,000 100%
1000-1199 or 50,000-75,000 75%
700-999 and ≥ 50,000 50%
< 700 or < 50,000 Hold

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Recommended Dose and Schedule

Every 4-week schedule

The recommended dose of Gemzar is 1000 mg/m² intravenously over 30 minutes on Days 1, 8, and 15 in combination with cisplatin therapy. Administer cisplatin intravenously at 100 mg/m² on Day 1 after the infusion of Gemzar.

Every 3-week schedule

The recommended dose of Gemzar is 1250 mg/m² intravenously over 30 minutes on Days 1 and 8 in combination with cisplatin therapy. Administer cisplatin intravenously at 100 mg/m² on Day 1 after the infusion of Gemzar.

Dose Modifications

Recommended dose modifications for Gemzar myelosuppression are described in Table 4 [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Refer to Dose Modifications for Non-Hematologic Adverse Reactions, for Gemzar recommendations for non-hematologic adverse reactions.

Pancreatic Cancer

Recommended Dose and Schedule

The recommended dose of Gemzar is 1000 mg/m² over 30 minutes intravenously. The recommended treatment schedule

  • Weeks 1-8: weekly dosing for the first 7 weeks followed by one week rest.
  • After week 8: weekly dosing on Days 1, 8, and 15 of 28-day cycles.
Dose Modifications

Recommended dose modifications for Gemzar for myelosuppression are described in Table 4 [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Refer to Dose Modifications for Non-Hematologic Adverse Reactions.

Patients receiving Gemzar should be monitored prior to each dose with a complete blood count (CBC), including differential and platelet count. If marrow suppression is detected, therapy should be modified or suspended according to the guidelines in Table 4.

Table 4: Recommended Dose Reductions for Gemzar for Myelosuppression in Pancreatic Cancer and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Absolute granulocyte count (x 106/L)   Platelet count (x 106/L) % of full dose
≥ 1000 And ≥ 100,000 100
500-999 Or 50,000-99,999 75
< 500 Or < 50,000 Hold

Dose Modifications For Non-Hematologic Adverse Reactions

Permanently discontinue Gemzar for any of the following

  • Unexplained dyspnea or other evidence of severe pulmonary toxicity
  • Severe hepatic toxicity
  • Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome
  • Capillary Leak Syndrome
  • Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome

Withhold Gemzar or reduce dose by 50% for other severe (Grade 3 or 4) non-hematological toxicity until resolved. No dose modifications are recommended for alopecia, nausea, or vomiting.

Preparation And Administration Precautions

Exercise caution and wear gloves when preparing Gemzar solutions. Immediately wash the skin thoroughly or rinse the mucosa with copious amounts of water if Gemzar contacts the skin or mucus membranes. Death has occurred in animal studies due to dermal absorption. For further guidance on handling Gemzar go to “OSHA Hazardous Drugs” (refer to antineoplastic weblinks including OSHA Technical Manual) at OSHA. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hazardousdrugs/index.html

Preparation For Intravenous Infusion Administration

Reconstitute the vials with 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection without preservatives.

Add 5 mL to the 200-mg vial or 25 mL to the 1-g vial. These dilutions each yield a Gemzar concentration of 38 mg/mL. Complete withdrawal of the vial contents will provide 200 mg or 1 g of Gemzar. Prior to administration the appropriate amount of drug must be diluted with 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection. Final concentrations may be as low as 0.1 mg/mL.

Reconstituted Gemzar is a clear, colorless to light straw-colored solution. Inspect visually prior to administration and discard for particulate matter or discoloration. Gemzar solutions are stable for 24 hours at controlled room temperature of 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F). Do not refrigerate as crystallization can occur.

No incompatibilities have been observed with infusion bottles or polyvinyl chloride bags and administration sets.

How Supplied

Dosage Forms And Strengths

Gemzar (gemcitabine for injection USP) is a white to off-white lyophilized powder available in sterile single-use vials containing 200 mg or 1 g gemcitabine.

Gemzar (gemcitabine for injection, USP), is available in sterile single-use vials individually packaged in a carton containing: 200 mg white to off-white, lyophilized powder in a 10-mL size sterile single-use vial – NDC 0002-7501-01 (No. 7501) 1 g white to off-white, lyophilized powder in a 50-mL size sterile single-use vial – NDC 0002-7502-01 (No. 7502)

Storage And Handling

Unopened vials of Gemzar are stable until the expiration date indicated on the package when stored at controlled room temperature 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) and that allows for excursions between 15° and 30°C (59° and 86°F) [See USP Controlled Room Temperature] [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Marketed by: Lilly USA, LLC Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA. Revised: May 2014


This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Side Effects

The following serious adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in another section of the label

  • Schedule-Dependent Toxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Myelosuppression [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Pulmonary Toxicity and Respiratory Failure [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Hepatic Toxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Embryo-fetal Toxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, Use In Specific Populations, and Nonclinical Toxicology]
  • Exacerbation of Radiation Toxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Capillary Leak Syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.

Single-Agent Use:

The data described below reflect exposure to Gemzar as a single agent administered at doses between 800 mg/m² to 1250 mg/m² over 30 minutes intravenously, once weekly, in 979 patients with a variety of malignancies. The most common ( ≥ 20%) adverse reactions of single-agent Gemzar are nausea/vomiting, anemia, increased ALT, increased AST, neutropenia, increased alkaline phosphatase, proteinuria, fever, hematuria, rash, thrombocytopenia, dyspnea, and edema. The most common ( ≥ 5%) Grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions were neutropenia, nausea/vomiting; increased ALT, increase alkaline phosphatase, anemia, increased AST, and thrombocytopenia. Approximately 10% of the 979 patients discontinued Gemzar due to adverse reactions. Adverse reactions resulting in discontinuation of Gemzar in 2% of 979 patients were cardiovascular adverse events (myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident, arrhythmia, and hypertension) and adverse reactions resulting in discontinuation of Gemzar in less than 1% of the 979 patients were anemia, thrombocytopenia, hepatic dysfunction, renal dysfunction, nausea/vomiting, fever, rash, dyspnea, hemorrhage, infection, stomatitis, somnolence, flu-like syndrome, and edema.

Table 5 presents the incidence of adverse reactions reported in 979 patients with various malignancies receiving single-agent Gemzar across 5 clinical trials. Table 5 includes all clinical adverse reactions, reported in at least 10% of patients. A listing of clinically significant adverse reactions is provided following the table.

Table 5: Selected Per-Patient Incidence of Adverse Events in Patients Receiving Single-Agent Gemzara

  All Patientsb
All Grades Grade 3 Grade 4
Laboratoryc
   Hematologic
     Anemia 68 7 1
     Neutropenia 63 19 6
     Thrombocytopenia 24 4 1
  Hepatic      
    Increased ALT 68 8 2
    Increased AST 67 6 2
    Increased Alkaline Phosphatase 55 7 2
    Hyperbilirubinemia 13 2 < 1
  Renal      
    Proteinuria 45 < 1 0
    Hematuria 35 < 1 0
    Increased BUN 16 0 0
    Increased Creatinine 8 < 1 0
  Non-laboratoryd
  Nausea and Vomiting 69 13 1
  Fever 41 2 0
  Rash 30 < 1 0
  Dyspnea 23 3 < 1
  Diarrhea 19 1 0
  Hemorrhage 17 < 1 < 1
  Infection 16 1 < 1
  Alopecia 15 < 1 0
  Stomatitis 11 < 1 0
  Somnolence 11 < 1 < 1
  Paresthesias 10 < 1 0
aGrade based on criteria from the World Health Organization (WHO).
bN=699-974; all patients with laboratory or non-laboratory data.
cRegardless of causality.
dFor approximately 60% of patients, non-laboratory adverse events were graded only if assessed to be possibly drug-related.
  • Transfusion requirements — Red blood cell transfusions (19%); platelet transfusions ( < 1%)
  • Fever — Fever occurred in the absence of clinical infection and frequently in combination with other flu-like symptoms.
  • Pulmonary — Dyspnea unrelated to underlying disease and sometimes accompanied by bronchospasm.
  • Edema — Edema (13%), peripheral edema (20%), and generalized edema ( < 1%); < 1% of patients. discontinued Gemzar due to edema.
  • Flu-like Symptoms — Characterized by fever, asthenia, anorexia, headache, cough, chills, myalgia, asthenia insomnia, rhinitis, sweating, and/or malaise (19%); < 1% of patients discontinued Gemzar due to flu-like symptoms
  • Infection — Sepsis ( < 1%)
  • Extravasation — Injection-site reactions (4%)
  • Allergic — Bronchospasm ( < 2%); anaphylactoid reactions [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer:

Table 6 presents the incidence of selected adverse reactions, occurring in ≥ 10% of Gemzar-treated patients and at a higher incidence in the Gemzar plus cisplatin arm, reported in a randomized trial of Gemzar plus cisplatin (n=262) administered in 28-day cycles as compared to cisplatin alone (n=260) in patients receiving first-line treatment for locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) [see Clinical Studies].

Patients randomized to Gemzar plus cisplatin received a median of 4 cycles of treatment and those randomized to cisplatin received a median of 2 cycles of treatment. In this trial, the requirement for dose adjustments ( > 90% versus 16%), discontinuation of treatment for adverse reactions (15% versus 8%), and the proportion of patients hospitalized (36% versus 23%) were all higher for patients receiving Gemzar plus cisplatin arm compared to those receiving cisplatin alone. The incidence of febrile neutropenia (9/262 versus 2/260), sepsis (4% versus 1%), Grade 3 cardiac dysrhythmias (3% versus < 1%) were all higher in the Gemzar plus cisplatin arm compared to the cisplatin alone arm. The two-drug combination was more myelosuppressive with 4 (1.5%) possibly treatment-related deaths, including 3 resulting from myelosuppression with infection and one case of renal failure associated with pancytopenia and infection. No deaths due to treatment were reported on the cisplatin arm.

Table 6: Per-Patient Incidence of Selected Adverse Reactions from Randomized Trial of Gemzar plus Cisplatin versus Single-Agent Cisplatin in Patients with NSCLC Occurring at Higher Incidence in Gemzar-Treated Patients [Between Arm Difference of ≥ 5% (All Grades) or ≥ 2% (Grades 3-4)]a

  Gemzar plus Cisplatinb Cisplatinc
All Grades Grade 3 Grade 4 All Grades Grade 3 Grade 4
Laboratoryd
  Hematologic
    Anemia 89 22 3 67 6 1
    RBC Transfusionc 39     13    
    Neutropenia 79 22 35 20 3 1
    Thrombocytopenia 85 25 25 13 3 1
    Platelet Transfusionse 21     < 1    
    Lymphopenia 75 25 18 51 12 5
  Hepatic
    Increased Transaminases 22 2 1 10 1 0
    Increased Alkaline Phosphatase 19 1 0 13 0 0
  Renal            
    Proteinuria 23 0 0 18 0 0
    Hematuria 15 0 0 13 0 0
    Elevated creatinine 38 4 < 1 31 2 < 1
  Other Laboratory            
    Hyperglycemia 30 4 0 23 3 0
    Hypomagnesemia 30 4 3 17 2 0
    Hypocalcemia 18 2 0 7 0 < 1
Non-laboratoryf            
  Nausea 93 25 2 87 20 < 1
  Vomiting 78 11 12 71 10 9
  Alopecia 53 1 0 33 0 0
  Neuro Motor 35 12 0 15 3 0
  Diarrhea 24 2 2 13 0 0
  Neuro Sensory 23 1 0 18 1 0
  Infection 18 3 2 12 1 0
  Fever 16 0 0 5 0 0
  Neuro Cortical 16 3 1 9 1 0
  Neuro Mood 16 1 0 10 1 0
  Local 15 0 0 6 0 0
  Neuro Headache 14 0 0 7 0 0
  Stomatitis 14 1 0 5 0 0
  Hemorrhage 14 1 0 4 0 0
  Hypotension 12 1 0 7 1 0
  Rash 11 0 0 3 0 0
aNational Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) for severity grading.
bN=217-253; all Gemzar plus cisplatin patients with laboratory or non-laboratory data Gemzar at 1000 mg/m² on Days 1, 8, and 15 and cisplatin at 100 mg/m² on Day 1 every 28 days.
cN=213-248; all cisplatin patients with laboratory or non-laboratory data. Cisplatin at 100 mg/m² on Day 1 every 28 days.
dRegardless of causality.
ePercent of patients receiving transfusions. Percent transfusions are not CTC-graded events.
fNon-laboratory events were graded only if assessed to be possibly drug-related.

Table 7 presents the incidence of selected adverse reactions, occurring in ≥ 10% of Gemzar-treated patients and at a higher incidence in the Gemzar plus cisplatin arm, reported in a randomized trial of Gemzar plus cisplatin (n=69) administered in 21-day cycles as compared to etoposide plus cisplatin alone (n=66) in patients receiving first-line treatment for locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) [see Clinical Studies]. A listing of clinically significant adverse reactions is provided following the table.

Patients in the Gemzar cisplatin (GC) arm received a median of 5 cycles and those in the etoposide/cisplatin (EC) arm received a median of 4 cycles. The majority of patients receiving more than one cycle of treatment required dose adjustments; 81% in the (GC) arm and 68% in the (EC) arm. The incidence of hospitalizations for treatment-related adverse events was 22% (GC) and 27% in the (EC) arm. The proportion of discontinuation of treatment for treatment-related adverse reactions was higher for patients in the (GC) arm (14% versus 8%). The proportion of patients hospitalized for febrile neutropenia was lower in the (GC) arm (7% versus 12%). There was one death attributed to treatment, a patient with febrile neutropenia and renal failure, which occurred in the Gemzar/cisplatin arm.

Table 7: Per-Patient Incidence of Selected Adverse Reactions in Randomized Trial of Gemzar plus Cisplatin versus Etoposide plus Cisplatin in Patients with NSCLCa

  Gemzar plus Cisplatinb Etoposide plus Cisplatinc
All Grades Grade 3 Grade 4 All Grades Grade 3 Grade 4
Laboratoryd
  Hematologic
    Anemia 88 22 0 77 13 2
    RBC Transfusionse 29 - - 21 - -
    Neutropenia 88 36 28 87 20 56
    Thrombocytopenia 81 39 16 45 8 5
    Platelet Transfusionse 3 - - 8 - -
  Hepatic
    Increased ALT 6 0 0 12 0 0
    Increased AST 3 0 0 11 0 0
    Increased Alkaline 16 0 0 11 0 0
  Phosphatase            
    Bilirubin 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Renal            
    Proteinuria 12 0 0 5 0 0
             
    Hematuria 22 0 0 10 0 0
    BUN 6 0 0 4 0 0
    Creatinine 2 0 0 2 0 0
Non-laboratoryf,g
  Nausea and Vomiting 96 35 4 86 19 7
  Fever 6 0 0 3 0 0
  Rash 10 0 0 3 0 0
  Dyspnea 1 0 1 3 0 0
  Diarrhea 14 1 1 13 0 2
  Hemorrhage 9 0 3 3 0 3
  Infection 28 3 1 21 8 0
  Alopecia 77 13 0 92 51 0
  Stomatitis 20 4 0 18 2 0
  Somnolence 3 0 0 3 2 0
  Paresthesias 38 0 0 16 2 0
aGrade based on criteria from the World Health Organization (WHO).
bN=67-69; all Gemzar plus cisplatin patients with laboratory or non-laboratory data. Gemzar at 1250 mg/m² on Days 1 and 8 and cisplatin at 100 mg/m² on Day 1 every 21 days.
cN=57-63; all cisplatin plus etoposide patients with laboratory or non-laboratory data. Cisplatin at 100 mg/m² on Day 1 and intravenous etoposide at 100 mg/m² on Days 1, 2, and 3 every 21 days.
dRegardless of causality.
eWHO grading scale not applicable to proportion of patients with transfusions
fNon-laboratory events were graded only if assessed to be possibly drug-related.
gPain data were not collected.
  • Flu-like syndrome: 3% in the Gemzar/cisplatin arm versus none in the etoposide/cisplatin arm.
  • Edema: 12% in the Gemzar/cisplatin arm versus 2% in the etoposide/cisplatin arm.
Breast Cancer

Table 8 presents the incidence of selected adverse reactions, occurring in ≥ 10% of Gemzar-treated patients and at a higher incidence in the Gemzar plus paclitaxel arm, reported in a randomized trial of Gemzar plus paclitaxel (n=262) compared to paclitaxel alone (n=259) for the first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in women who received anthracycline-containing chemotherapy in the adjuvant/neo-adjuvant setting or for whom anthracyclines were contraindicated. [see Clinical Studies].

The requirement for dose reduction of paclitaxel were higher for patients in the Gemzar/paclitaxel arm (5% versus 2%). The number of paclitaxel doses omitted ( < 1%), the proportion of patients discontinuing treatment for treatment-related adverse reactions (7% versus 5%), and the number of treatment-related deaths (1 patient in each arm) were similar between the two arms.

Table 8: Per-Patient Incidence of Selected Adverse Reactions from Comparative Trial of Gemzar plus Paclitaxel versus Single-Agent Paclitaxel in Breast Cancera Occurring at Higher Incidence in Gemzar-Treated Patients [Between Arm Difference of ≥ 5% (All Grades) or ≥ 2% (Grades 3-4)]

  Gemzar plus Paclitaxel
(N=262)
Paclitaxel
(N=259)
All Grades Grade 3 Grade 4 All Grades Grade 3 Grade 4
Laboratoryb
  Hematologic
    Anemia 69 6 1 51 3 < 1
    Neutropenia 69 31 17 31 4 7
    Thrombocytopenia 26 5 < 1 7 < 1 < 1
  Hepatobiliary
    Increased ALT 18 5 < 1 6 < 1 0
    Increased AST 16 2 0 5 < 1 0
Non-laboratoryc
  Alopecia 90 14 4 92 19 3
  Neuropathy-sensory 64 5 < 1 58 3 0
  Nausea 50 1 0 31 2 0
  Fatigue 40 6 < 1 28 1 < 1
  Vomiting 29 2 0 15 2 0
  Diarrhea 20 3 0 13 2 0
  Anorexia 17 0 0 12 < 1 0
  Neuropathy-motor 15 2 < 1 10 < 1 0
  Stomatitis/pharyngitis 13 1 < 1 8 < 1 0
  Fever 13 < 1 0 3 0 0
  Rash/desquamation 11 < 1 < 1 5 0 0
aSeverity grade based on National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) Version 2.0
bRegardless of causality.
cNon-laboratory events were graded only if assessed to be possibly drug-related.

The following clinically relevant, Grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions occurred with a higher incidence in the Gemzar plus paclitaxel arm compared with the paclitaxel arm: febrile neutropenia (5.0% versus 1.2%) and dyspnea (1.9% versus 0).

Ovarian Cancer

Table 9 presents the incidence of selected adverse reactions, occurring in ≥ 10% of gemcitabine-treated patients and at a higher incidence in the Gemzar plus carboplatin arm, reported in a randomized trial of Gemzar plus carboplatin (n=175) compared to carboplatin alone (n=174) for the second-line treatment of ovarian cancer in women with disease that had relapsed more than 6 months following first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. [see Clinical Studies]. Additional clinically significant adverse reactions, occurring in less than 10% of patients, are provided following Table 9.

The proportion of patients with dose adjustments for carboplatin (1.8% versus 3.8%), doses of carboplatin omitted (0.2% versus 0), and discontinuing treatment for treatment-related adverse reactions (10.9% versus 9.8%), were similar between arms. Dose adjustment for Gemzar occurred in 10.4% of patients and Gemzar dose was omitted in 13.7% of patients in the Gemzar /carboplatin arm.

Table 9: Per-Patient Incidence of Adverse Reactions in Randomized Trial of Gemzar plus Carboplatin versus Carboplatin in Ovarian Cancer Occurring at Higher Incidence in Gemzar-Treated Patients [Between Arm Difference of ≥ 5% (All Grades) or ≥ 2% (Grades 3-4)]

  Gemzar plus Carboplatin
(N=175)
Carboplatin
(N=174)
All Grades Grade 3 Grade 4 All Grades Grade 3 Grade 4
Laboratoryb
  Hematologic
    Neutropenia 90 42 29 58 11 1
    Anemia 86 22 6 75 9 2
    Thrombocytopenia 78 30 5 57 10 1
    RBC Transfusionsc 38     15    
    Platelet Transfusionsc 9     3    
Non-laboratoryb
  Nausea 69 6 0 61 3 0
  Alopecia 49 0 0 17 0 0
  Vomiting 46 6 0 36 2 < 1
  Constipation 42 6 1 37 3 0
  Fatigue 40 3 < 1 32 5 0
  Diarrhea 25 3 0 14 < 1 0
  Stomatitis/pharyngitis 22 < 1 0 13 0 0
a Grade based on Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) Version 2.0.
b Regardless of causality.
c Percent of patients receiving transfusions. Transfusions are not CTC-graded events. Blood transfusions included both packed red blood cells and whole blood.

Hematopoietic growth factors were administered more frequently in the Gemzar-containing arm: granulocyte growth factors (23.6% and 10.1%) and erythropoietic agents (7.3% and 3.9%).

The following clinically relevant, Grade 3 and 4 adverse reactions occurred more frequently in the Gemzar plus carboplatin arm: dyspnea (3.4% versus 2.9%), febrile neutropenia (1.1% versus 0), hemorrhagic event (2.3% versus 1.1 %), motor neuropathy (1.1% versus 0.6%), and rash/desquamation (0.6% versus 0).

Post-Marketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of Gemzar. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Cardiovascular — Congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, Arrhythmias, supraventricular arrhythmias.

Vascular Disorders — Peripheral vasculitis, gangrene, and capillary leak syndrome [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]

Skin — Cellulitis, severe skin reactions, including desquamation and bullous skin eruptions

Hepatic — Hepatic failure, hepatic veno-occlusive disease

Pulmonary — Interstitial pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary edema, and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)

Nervous System — Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]

Read the Gemzar (gemcitabine hcl) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

Interactions

No drug interaction studies have been conducted.

Read the Gemzar Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

Learn More »


This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Warnings

Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.

Precautions

Schedule-dependent Toxicity

In clinical trials evaluating the maximum tolerated dose of Gemzar, prolongation of the infusion time beyond 60 minutes or more frequent than weekly dosing resulted in an increased incidence of clinically significant hypotension, severe flu-like symptoms, myelosuppression, and asthenia. The half-life of Gemzar is influenced by the length of the infusion [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Myelosuppression

Myelosuppression manifested by neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and anemia occurs with Gemzar as a single agent and the risks are increased when Gemzar is combined with other cytotoxic drugs. In clinical trials, Grade 3-4 neutropenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia occurred in 25%, 8%, and 5%, respectively of patients receiving single-agent. The frequencies of Grade 3-4 neutropenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia varied from 48% to 71%, 8 to 28%, and 5 to 55%, respectively, in patients receiving Gemzar in combination with another drug.

Pulmonary Toxicity And Respiratory Failure

Pulmonary toxicity, including interstitial pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary edema, and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), has been reported. In some cases, these pulmonary events can lead to fatal respiratory failure despite discontinuation of therapy. The onset of pulmonary symptoms may occur up to 2 weeks after the last dose of Gemzar. Discontinue Gemzar in patients who develop unexplained dyspnea, with or without bronchospasm, or have any evidence of pulmonary toxicity [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome to include fatalities from renal failure or the requirement for dialysis can occur in patients treated with Gemzar. In clinical trials, HUS was reported in 6 of 2429 patients (0.25%). Most fatal cases of renal failure were due to HUS [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Assess renal function prior to initiation of Gemzar and periodically during treatment. Consider the diagnosis of HUS in patients who develops anemia with evidence of microangiopathic hemolysis, elevation of bilirubin or LDH, or reticulocytosis; severe thrombocytopenia; or evidence of renal failure (elevation of serum creatinine or BUN) [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and Use In Specific Populations]. Permanently discontinue Gemzar in patients with HUS or severe renal impairment. Renal failure may not be reversible even with discontinuation of therapy. Renal failure may not be reversible even with discontinuation of therapy.

Hepatic Toxicity

Drug-induced liver injury, including liver failure and death, has been reported in patients receiving Gemzar alone or in combination with other potentially hepatotoxic drugs [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Administration of Gemzar in patients with concurrent liver metastases or a pre-existing medical history or hepatitis, alcoholism, or liver cirrhosis can lead to exacerbation of the underlying hepatic insufficiency [see Use in Specific Populations]. Assess hepatic function prior to initiation of Gemzar and periodically during treatment. Discontinue Gemzar in patients that develop severe liver injury.

Embryofetal Toxicity

Gemzar can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman, based on its mechanism of action. Gemcitabine was teratogenic, embryotoxic, and fetotoxic in mice and rabbits. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if a woman becomes pregnant while taking Gemzar, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to a fetus. [see Use in Specific Populations]

Exacerbation Of Radiation Therapy Toxicity

Gemzar is not indicated for use in combination with radiation therapy.

Concurrent (given together or ≤ 7 days apart)

Life-threatening mucositis, especially esophagitis and pneumonitis occurred in a trial in which Gemzar was administered at a dose of 1000 mg/m² to patients with non-small cell lung cancer for up to 6 consecutive weeks concurrently with thoracic radiation.

Non-concurrent (given > 7 days apart)

Excessive toxicity has not been observed when Gemzar is administered more than 7 days before or after radiation. Radiation recall has been reported in patients who receive Gemzar after prior radiation.

Capillary Leak Syndrome

Capillary leak syndrome (CLS) with severe consequences has been reported in patients receiving Gemzar as a single agent or in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents. Discontinue Gemzar if CLS develops during therapy.

Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome

Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) has been reported in patients receiving Gemzar as a single agent or in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents. PRES can present with headache, seizure, lethargy, hypertension, confusion, blindness, and other visual and neurologic disturbances. Confirm the diagnosis of PRES with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and discontinue Gemzar if PRES develops during therapy.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

Long-term animal studies to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of Gemzar have not been conducted. Gemcitabine was mutagenic in an in vitro mouse lymphoma (L5178Y) assay and was clastogenic in an in vivo mouse micronucleus assay. Gemcitabine IP doses of 0.5 mg/kg/day (about 1/700 the human dose on a mg/m² basis) in male mice had an effect on fertility with moderate to severe hypospermatogenesis, decreased fertility, and decreased implantations. In female mice, fertility was not affected but maternal toxicities were observed at 1.5 mg/kg/day administered intravenously (about 1/200 the human dose on a mg/m² basis) and fetotoxicity or embryolethality was observed at 0.25 mg/kg/day administered intravenously (about 1/1300 the human dose on a mg/m² basis).

Use In Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category D. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]

Risk Summary

Gemzar can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Based on its mechanism of action, Gemzar is expected to result in adverse reproductive effects. Gemcitabine was teratogenic, embryotoxic, and fetotoxic in mice and rabbits. If Gemzar is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking Gemzar, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to a fetus.

Animal Data

Gemcitabine is embryotoxic causing fetal malformations (cleft palate, incomplete ossification) at doses of 1.5 mg/kg/day in mice (approximately 0.005 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis). Gemcitabine is fetotoxic causing fetal malformations (fused pulmonary artery, absence of gall bladder) at doses of 0.1 mg/kg/day in rabbits (about 0.002 times the recommended human dose on a mg/m² basis). Embryotoxicity was characterized by decreased fetal viability, reduced live litter sizes, and developmental delays. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from Gemzar, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of Gemzar have not been established in pediatric patients. The safety and pharmacokinetics of gemcitabine were evaluated in a trial in pediatric patients with refractory leukemia. The maximum tolerated dose was 10 mg/m²/min for 360 minutes three times weekly followed by a one-week rest period. The safety and activity of Gemzar were evaluated in a trial of pediatric patients with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (22 patients) and acute myelogenous leukemia (10 patients) at a dose of 10 mg/m²/min administered over 360 minutes three times weekly followed by a one-week rest period. Toxicities observed included bone marrow suppression, febrile neutropenia, elevation of serum transaminases, nausea, and rash/desquamation. No meaningful clinical activity was observed in this trial.

Geriatric Use

In clinical studies of GEMZAR, enrolling 979 patients with various cancers who received GEMZAR as a single agent, no overall differences in safety were observed between patients aged 65 and older and younger patients, with the exception of a higher rate of Grade 3-4 thrombocytopenia in older patients as compared to younger patients. In a randomized trial in women with ovarian cancer, 175 women received GEMZAR plus carboplatin, of which 29% were age 65 years or older. Similar effectiveness was observed between older and younger women. There was significantly higher Grade 3/4 neutropenia in women 65 years of age or older.

GEMZAR clearance is affected by age, however there are no recommended dose adjustments based on patients' age [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Renal Impairment

No clinical studies have been conducted with gemcitabine in patients with decreased renal function.

Hepatic Impairment

No clinical studies have been conducted with gemcitabine in patients with decreased hepatic function.

Gender

Gemzar clearance is affected by gender [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. In single-agent studies of Gemzar, women, especially older women, were more likely not to proceed to a subsequent cycle and to experience Grade 3/4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia.


This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

OverDose

Myelosuppression, paresthesias, and severe rash were the principal toxicities seen when a single dose as high as 5700 mg/m² was administered by intravenous infusion over 30 minutes every 2 weeks to several patients in a dose-escalation study.

ContrainDications

Gemzar is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to gemcitabine.


This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Clinical Pharamacology

Mechanism Of Action

Gemcitabine kills cells undergoing DNA synthesis and blocks the progression of cells through the G1/S-phase boundary. Gemcitabine is metabolized by nucleoside kinases to diphosphate (dFdCDP) and triphosphate (dFdCTP) nucleosides. Gemcitabine diphosphate inhibits ribonucleotide reductase, an enzyme responsible for catalyzing the reactions that generate deoxynucleoside triphosphates for DNA synthesis, resulting in reductions in deoxynucleotide concentrations, including dCTP. Gemcitabine triphosphate competes with dCTP for incorporation into DNA. The reduction in the intracellular concentration of dCTP by the action of the diphosphate enhances the incorporation of gemcitabine triphosphate into DNA (self-potentiation). After the gemcitabine nucleotide is incorporated into DNA, only one additional nucleotide is added to the growing DNA strands, which eventually results in the initiation of apoptotic cell death.

Pharmacokinetics

Absorption and Distribution

The pharmacokinetics of gemcitabine were examined in 353 patients, with various solid tumors. Pharmacokinetic parameters were derived using data from patients treated for varying durations of therapy given weekly with periodic rest weeks and using both short infusions ( < 70 minutes) and long infusions (70 to 285 minutes). The total Gemzar dose varied from 500 to 3600 mg/m² .

The volume of distribution was increased with infusion length. Volume of distribution of gemcitabine was 50 L/m² following infusions lasting < 70 minutes. For long infusions, the volume of distribution rose to 370 L/m² .

Gemcitabine pharmacokinetics are linear and are described by a 2-compartment model. Population pharmacokinetic analyses of combined single and multiple dose studies showed that the volume of distribution of gemcitabine was significantly influenced by duration of infusion and gender. Gemcitabine plasma protein binding is negligible.

Metabolism

Gemcitabine disposition was studied in 5 patients who received a single 1000 mg/m²/30 minute infusion of radiolabeled drug. Within one (1) week, 92% to 98% of the dose was recovered, almost entirely in the urine. Gemcitabine ( < 10%) and the inactive uracil metabolite, 2´-deoxy-2´,2´-difluorouridine (dFdU), accounted for 99% of the excreted dose. The metabolite dFdU is also found in plasma.

The active metabolite, gemcitabine triphosphate, can be extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The half-life of the terminal phase for gemcitabine triphosphate from mononuclear cells ranges from 1.7 to 19.4 hours.

Elimination

Clearance of gemcitabine was affected by age and gender. The lower clearance in women and the elderly results in higher concentrations of gemcitabine for any given dose. Differences in either clearance or volume of distribution based on patient characteristics or the duration of infusion result in changes in half-life and plasma concentrations. Table 10 shows plasma clearance and half-life of gemcitabine following short infusions for typical patients by age and gender.

Table 10: Gemcitabine Clearance and Half-Life for the “Typical” Patient

Age Clearance Men (L/hr/m²) Clearance Women (L/hr/m²) Half-Lifea Men (min) Half-Lifea Women (min)
29 92.2 69.4 42 49
45 75.7 57.0 48 57
65 55.1 41.5 61 73
79 40.7 30.7 79 94
aHalf-life for patients receiving < 70 minute infusion .

Gemcitabine half-life for short infusions ranged from 42 to 94 minutes, and the value for long infusions varied from 245 to 638 minutes, depending on age and gender, reflecting a greatly increased volume of distribution with longer infusions.

Drug Interactions

When Gemzar (1250 mg/m² on Days 1 and 8) and cisplatin (75 mg/m² on Day 1) were administered in NSCLC patients, the clearance of gemcitabine on Day 1 was 128 L/hr/m² and on Day 8 was 107 L/hr/m². Analysis of data from metastatic breast cancer patients shows that, on average, Gemzar has little or no effect on the pharmacokinetics (clearance and half-life) of paclitaxel and paclitaxel has little or no effect on the pharmacokinetics of gemcitabine. Data from NSCLC patients demonstrate that Gemzar and carboplatin given in combination does not alter the pharmacokinetics of gemcitabine or carboplatin compared to administration of either single agent. However, due to wide confidence intervals and small sample size, interpatient variability may be observed.

Clinical Studies

Ovarian Cancer

The safety and efficacy of Gemzar was studied in a randomized trial of 356 women with advanced ovarian cancer that had relapsed at least 6 months after first-line platinum-based therapy. Patients were randomized to receive either Gemzar 1000 mg/m² on Days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle and carboplatin AUC 4 administered after Gemzar infusion on Day 1 of each cycle (n=178) or to carboplatin AUC 5 administered on Day 1 of each 21-day cycle (n=178). The primary efficacy outcome measure was progression free survival (PFS).

Patient characteristics are shown in Table 11. The addition of Gemzar to carboplatin resulted in statistically significant improvements in PFS and overall response rate as shown in Table 12 and Figure 1. Approximately 75% of patients in each arm received additional chemotherapy for disease progression; 13 of 120 patients in the carboplatin alone arm received Gemzar for treatment of disease progression. There was no significant difference in overall survival between the treatment arms.

Table 11: Randomized Trial of Gemzar plus Carboplatin versus Carboplatin in Ovarian Cancer -Baseline Demographics and Clinical Characteristics

  Gemzar/Carboplatin Carboplatin
Number of randomized patients 178 178
Median age, years 59 58
  Range 36 to 78 21 to 81
Baseline ECOG performance status 0-1a 94% 95%
Disease Status
  Evaluable 8% 3%
  Bidimensionally measurable 92% 96%
Platinum-free intervalb
  6-12 months 40% 40%
   > 12 months 59% 60%
First-line therapy
  Platinum-taxane combination 70% 71%
  Platinum-non-taxane combination 29% 28%
  Platinum monotherapy 1% 1%
a5 patients on Gemzar plus carboplatin arm and 4 patients on carboplatin arm with no baseline Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status.
b2 on Gemzar plus carboplatin arm and 1 on carboplatin arm had platinum-free interval < 6 months.

Table 12: Randomized Trial of Gemzar plus Carboplatin versus Carboplatin in Ovarian Cancer -Efficacy Outcomes

  Gemzar/Carboplatin
(N=178)
Carboplatin
(N=178)
Progression-free Survival
  Median (95% CIa) months 8.6 (8.0, 9.7) 5.8 (5.2, 7.1)
  Hazard Ratio (95% CI) 0.72 (0.57, 0.90)
  p-valueb p=0.0038
Overall Survival
  Median (95% CI) months 18.0 (16.2, 20.3) 17.3 (15.2, 19.3)
  Hazard Ratio (95% CI) 0.98 (0.78, 1.24)
  p-valueb p=0.8977
Investigator Reviewed Overall Response Rate 47.2% 30.9%
  p-valuee p=0.0016
  CRd 14.6% 6.2%
  PR plus PRNMe 32.6% 24.7%
Independently Reviewed Overall Response Ratef 46.3% 35.6%
  p-valuee p=0.11
  CRd 9.1% 4.0%
  PR plus PRNMe 37.2% 31.7%
aCI=confidence interval
bComplete response
cPartial response plus partial response, non-measurable disease
dlog Rank, unadjusted
echi Square
fIndependently reviewed cohort -Gemzar/carboplatin (n=121), carboplatin (n=101); independent reviewers unable to measure disease detected by sonography or physical exam

Figure 1: Kaplan-Meier Curve of Progression Free Survival in Gemzar plus Carboplatin versus Carboplatin in Ovarian Cancer (N=356)

View Enlarged Table

Breast Cancer

The safety and efficacy of Gemzar were evaluated in a multi-national, randomized, open-label trial conducted in women receiving initial treatment for metastatic breast cancer in women who have received prior adjuvant/neoadjuvant anthracycline chemotherapy unless clinically contraindicated. Patients were randomized to receive Gemzar 1250 mg/m² on Days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle and paclitaxel 175 mg/m² administered prior to Gemzar on Day 1 of each cycle (n=267) or to receive paclitaxel 175 mg/m² was administered on Day 1 of each 21-day cycle (n=262). The primary efficacy outcome measure was time to documented disease progression.

A total of 529 patients were enrolled; 267 were randomized to Gemzar and paclitaxel and 262 to paclitaxel alone. Demographic and baseline characteristics were similar between treatment arms (see Table 13). Efficacy results are presented in Table 13 and Figure 2. The addition of Gemzar to paclitaxel resulted in statistically significant improvement in time to documented disease progression and overall response rate compared to paclitaxel alone. There was no significant difference in overall survival.

Table 13: Randomized Trial of Gemzar plus Paclitaxel versus Paclitaxel in Breast Cancer

  Gemzar/Paclitaxel Paclitaxel
Number of patients 267 262
Demographic/Entry Characteristics
  Median age (years) 53 52
     Range 26 to 83 26 to 75
  Metastatic disease 97% 97%
  Baseline KPSa ≥ 90 70% 74%
  Number of tumor sites
    1-2 57% 59%
     ≥ 3 43% 41%
    Visceral disease 73% 73%
    Prior anthracycline 97% 96%
Efficacy Outcomes
  Time to Documented DiseaseProgressionb
    Median in months(95% CI) 5.2(4.2, 5.6) 2.9(2.6, 3.7)
    Hazard Ratio (95% CI) 0.650 (0.524, 0.805)
  p-value p < 0.0001
  Overall Survival0    
    Median Survival in months (95% CI) 18.6 (16.5, 20.7) 15.8 (14.1, 17.3)
    Hazard Ratio (95% CI) 0.86 (0.71, 1.04)
  p-value Not Significant
  Overall Response Rate(95% CI) 40.8% (34.9, 46.7) 22.1% (17.1, 27.2)
  p-value p < 0.0001
aKarnofsky Performance Status.
bThese represent reconciliation of investigator and Independent Review Committee assessments according to a predefined algorithm.
cBased on the ITT population

Figure 2: Kaplan-Meier Curve of Time to Documented Disease Progression in Gemzar plus Paclitaxel versus Paclitaxel Breast Cancer Study (N=529)

View Enlarged Table

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

The safety and efficacy of Gemzar was evaluated in two randomized, multicenter trials.

28-Day Schedule

A multinational, randomized trial compared Gemzar plus cisplatin to cisplatin alone in the treatment of patients with inoperable Stage IIIA, IIIB, or IV NSCLC who had not received prior chemotherapy. Patients were randomized to receive Gemzar 1000 mg/m² on Days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle with cisplatin 100 mg/m² administered on Day 1 of each cycle or to receive cisplatin 100 mg/m² on Day 1 of each 28-day cycle. The primary efficacy outcome measure was overall survival. A total of 522 patients were enrolled at clinical centers in Europe, the US, and Canada. Patient demographics and baseline characteristics (shown in Table 13) were similar between arms with the exception of histologic subtype of NSCLC, with 48% of patients on the cisplatin arm and 37% of patients on the Gemzar plus cisplatin arm having adenocarcinoma. Efficacy results are presented in Table 13 and Figure 3 for overall survival.

21-Day Schedule

A randomized (1:1), multicenter trial was conducted in 135 patients with Stage IIIB or IV NSCLC. Patients were randomized to receive Gemzar 1250 mg/m² on Days 1 and 8, and cisplatin 100 mg/m² on Day 1 of a 21-day cycle or to receive etoposide 100 mg/m² intravenously on Days 1, 2, and 3 and cisplatin 100 mg/m² on Day 1 of a 21 -day cycle.

There was no significant difference in survival between the two treatment arms (Log rank p=0.18, two-sided). The median survival was 8.7 months for the Gemzar plus cisplatin arm versus 7.0 months for the etoposide plus cisplatin arm. Median time to disease progression for the Gemzar plus cisplatin arm was 5.0 months compared to 4.1 months on the etoposide plus cisplatin arm (Log rank p=0.015, two-sided). The objective response rate for the Gemzar plus cisplatin arm was 33% compared to 14% on the etoposide plus cisplatin arm (Fisher's Exact p=0.01, two-sided).

Figure 3: Kaplan-Meier Survival Curve in Gemzar plus Cisplatin versus Cisplatin in Patients with NSCLC Study (N=522)

View Enlarged Table

Table 14: Randomized Trials of Gemzar plus Cisplatin in Patients with NSCLC

Trial 28-day Schedulea 21-day Scheduleb
Treatment Arm Gemzar plus Cisplatin Cisplatin Gemzar plus Cisplatin Etoposide plus Cisplatin
Number of patients 260 262 69 66
Demographic/Entry Characteristics
  Male 70% 71% 93% 92%
Median age, years 62 63 58 60
  Range 36 to 88 35 to 79 33 to 76 35 to 75
Stage IIIA 7% 7% N/A° N/A°
Stage IIIB 26% 23% 48% 52%
Stage IV 67% 70% 52% 49%
Baseline KPSd 70 to 80 41% 44% 45% 52%
         
Baseline KPSd 90 to 100 57% 55% 55% 49%
Efficacy Outcomes
Survival
  Median in months 9.0 7.6 8.7 7.0
  (95% CIe) months 8.2, 11.0 6.6, 8.8 7.8, 10.1 6.0, 9.7
p-valuef p=0.08 p=0.18
Time to Disease Progression
  Median in months 5.2 3.7 5.0 4.1
  (95% CIe) months 4.2, 5.7 3.0, 4.3 9 4.2, 6.4 2.4, 4.5
p-valuef p=0.09 p=0.015
Tumor Response 26% 10% 33% 14%
  p-valuef p < 0.0001 p=0.01
a 28-day schedule — Gemzar plus cisplatin: Gemzar 1000 mg/m² on Days 1, 8, and 15 and cisplatin 100 mg/m² on Day 1 every 28 days; Single-agent cisplatin: cisplatin 100 mg/m² on Day 1 every 28 days.
b21-day schedule — Gemzar plus cisplatin: Gemzar 1250 mg/m² on Days 1 and 8 and cisplatin 100 mg/m² on Day 1 every 21 days; Etoposide plus Cisplatin: cisplatin 100 mg/m² on Day 1 and intravenous etoposide 100 mg/m² on Days 1, 2, and 3 every 21 days.
cN/A Not applicable.
dKarnofsky Performance Status.
eCI=confidence intervals
fp-value two-sided Fisher's Exact test for difference in binomial proportions; log rank test for time-to-event analyses.

Pancreatic Cancer

The safety and efficacy of Gemzar was evaluated in two trials, a randomized, single-blind, two-arm, active-controlled trial conducted in patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer who had received no prior chemotherapy and in a single-arm, open-label, multicenter trial conducted in patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer previously treated with 5-FU or a 5-FU-containing regimen. The first trial randomized patients to receive Gemzar 1000 mg/m² intravenously over 30 minutes once weekly for 7 weeks followed by a one-week rest, then once weekly dosing for 3 consecutive weeks every 28-days in subsequent cycles (n=63) or to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) 600 mg/m² intravenously over 30 minutes once weekly (n=63). In the second trial, all patients received Gemzar 1000 mg/m² intravenously over 30 minutes once weekly for 7 weeks followed by a one-week rest, then once weekly dosing for 3 consecutive weeks every 28-days in subsequent cycles.

The primary efficacy outcome measure in both trials was “clinical benefit response”. A patient was considered to have had a clinical benefit response if either occurred:

  • The patient achieved a ≥ 50% reduction in pain intensity (Memorial Pain Assessment Card) or analgesic consumption, or a 20-point or greater improvement in performance status (Karnofsky Performance Status) for a period of at least 4 consecutive weeks, without showing any sustained worsening in any of the other parameters. Sustained worsening was defined as 4 consecutive weeks with either any increase in pain intensity or analgesic consumption or a 20-point decrease in performance status occurring during the first 12 weeks of therapy. OR
  • The patient was stable on all of the aforementioned parameters, and showed a marked, sustained weight gain ( ≥ 7% increase maintained for ≥ 4 weeks) not due to fluid accumulation.

The randomized trial enrolled 126 patients across 17 sites in the US and Canada. The demographic and entry characteristics were similar between the arms (Table 15). The efficacy outcome results are shown in Table 15 and for overall survival in Figure 4. Patients treated with Gemzar had statistically significant increases in clinical benefit response, survival, and time to disease progression compared to those randomized to receive 5-FU. No confirmed objective tumor responses were observed in either treatment arm.

Table 15: Randomized Trial of Gemzar versus 5-Fluorouracil in Pancreatic Cancer

  Gemzar 5-FU
Number of patients 63 63
Demographic/Entry Characteristics
  Male 54% 54%
Median age 62 years 61 years
  Range 37 to 79 36 to 77
Stage IV disease 71% 76%
Baseline KPSa ≤ 70 70% 68%
Efficacy Outcomes
Clinical benefit response 22.2% 4.8%
p-valueb p=0.004
     
Survival    
  Median 5.7 months 4.2 months
  (95% CI) (4.7, 6.9) (3.1, 5.1)
  p-valueb p=0.0009
Time to Disease Progression    
  Median 2.1 months 0.9 months
  (95% CI) (1.9, 3.4) (0.9, 1.1)
  p-valueb p=0.0013
aKarnofsky Performance Status.
bp-value for clinical benefit response calsulated using the two-sided test for difference in binomial proportions. All other p-values are calculated using log rank test.

Figure 4: Kaplan-Meier Survival Curve

View Enlarged Table


This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Patient Information

  • Advise patients of the risks of low blood cell counts and the potential need for blood transfusions and increased susceptibility to infections. Instruct patients to immediately contact their healthcare provided for development of signs or symptoms of infection, fever, prolonged or unexpected bleeding, bruising, or shortness of breath [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Advise patients of the risks of pulmonary toxicity including respiratory failure and death. Instruct patients to immediately contact their healthcare provider for development of shortness of breath, wheezing, or cough [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Advise patients of the risks of hemolytic-uremic syndrome and associated renal failure. Instruct patients to immediately contact their healthcare provider for changes in the color or volume of urine output or for increased bruising or bleeding [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
  • Advise patients of the risks of hepatic toxicity including liver failure and death. Instruct patients to immediately contact their healthcare provider for signs of jaundice or for pain/tenderness in the right upper abdominal quadrant [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]


This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Consumer Overview Uses

IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

 

GEMCITABINE - INJECTION

 

(gem-SITE-uh-bean)

 

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Gemzar

 

USES: Gemcitabine is used alone or with other treatments/medications to treat certain types of cancer (including breast, lung, ovarian, pancreatic). It is a chemotherapy drug that works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

 

OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.

This drug may also be used to treat certain other cancers, such as bladder cancer.

 

HOW TO USE: Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your healthcare professional before you start receiving gemcitabine and each scheduled dose. If you have any questions, ask your healthcare professional.

This medication is given by injection into a vein by a healthcare professional, usually over 30 minutes once a week or as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.

If this medication touches your skin, wash the skin immediately and completely with soap and water.

Consumer Overview Side Effect

SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain/redness at the injection site, and flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, muscle aches) may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, drug therapy may be needed to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Changes in diet and lifestyle, such as eating several small meals or limiting activity, may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: dizziness/lightheadedness, fainting, mouth sores, numbness/tingling of hands/feet, sudden weight gain, swelling of ankles/feet, severe stomach/abdominal pain, easy bleeding/bruising, cough, difficulty catching your breath (shortness of breath, wheezing), unusual tiredness, fast/irregular heartbeat, change in amount of urine, dark urine, yellowing of the eyes/skin.

Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain, jaw/left arm pain, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, vision changes, confusion.

This medication can lower your ability to fight an infection (bone marrow depression). Notify your doctor promptly if you develop any signs of infection (e.g., high fever, chills, persistent sore throat).

An allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

 

Read the Gemzar (gemcitabine hcl) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

Learn More »

PRECAUTIONS: Before using gemcitabine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: bone marrow problems (e.g., leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia), heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat, heart failure), kidney problems, liver problems, radiation therapy.

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine.

Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured, use caution with sharp objects like safety razors or nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to lessen the risk of bleeding gums.

This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control. It is recommended that men and women use two effective forms of birth control (e.g., condoms and birth control pills) while taking this medication and for some time afterwards.

It is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the potential harm to the nursing infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Consumer Overview Missed Dose

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

 

OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

 

NOTES: Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood pressure, complete blood counts before each dose, kidney function tests, liver function tests, serum albumin) should be performed from time to time to monitor for side effects and response to treatment. Consult your doctor for more details. Keep all scheduled medical appointments.

 

MISSED DOSE: For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule.

 

STORAGE: Not applicable. This medication is given in a clinic and will not be stored at home.

 

MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).

 

Information last revised February 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.

Patient Detailed Side Effect

Brand Names: Gemzar

Generic Name: gemcitabine (Pronunciation: jem SYE ta been)

  • What is gemcitabine (Gemzar)?
  • What are the possible side effects of gemcitabine (Gemzar)?
  • What is the most important information I should know about gemcitabine (Gemzar)?
  • What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving gemcitabine (Gemzar)?
  • How is gemcitabine used (Gemzar)?
  • What happens if I miss a dose (Gemzar)?
  • What happens if I overdose (Gemzar)?
  • What should I avoid while using gemcitabine (Gemzar)?
  • What other drugs will affect gemcitabine (Gemzar)?
  • Where can I get more information?

What is gemcitabine (Gemzar)?

Gemcitabine is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Gemcitabine is used to treat cancers of the pancreas, lung and breast.

Gemcitabine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of gemcitabine (Gemzar)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
  • sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;
  • pain, swelling, or skin changes where the needle was placed;
  • hearing problems;
  • blood in your urine; or
  • breathing problems.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, upset stomach;
  • diarrhea or constipation;
  • swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet;
  • skin rash;
  • numbness or tingly feeling;
  • drowsiness; or
  • hair loss.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the Gemzar (gemcitabine hcl) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

Learn More »

What is the most important information I should know about gemcitabine (Gemzar)?

Do not receive gemcitabine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

Gemcitabine is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Gemcitabine is usually given once a week for several weeks. The medicine must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to 30 minutes to complete.

Gemcitabine can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney and liver function may also need to be checked. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while you are being treated with gemcitabine, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you.

If any of this medicine accidentally gets on your skin, wash the area thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Side Effects Centers
  • Gemzar

Patient Detailed How Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving gemcitabine (Gemzar)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to gemcitabine.

To make sure you can safely use gemcitabine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease; or
  • if you are receiving radiation treatment.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use gemcitabine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether gemcitabine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using gemcitabine.

How is gemcitabine used (Gemzar)?

Gemcitabine is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to 30 minutes to complete.

Gemcitabine is usually given once a week for up to 7 weeks.

Gemcitabine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests. Visit your doctor regularly.

If any of this medicine accidentally gets on your skin, wash the area thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Side Effects Centers
  • Gemzar

Patient Detailed Avoid Taking

What happens if I miss a dose (Gemzar)?

Contact your doctor if you miss a miss an appointment to receive your gemcitabine infusion.

What happens if I overdose (Gemzar)?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include numbness or tingly feeling, severe skin rash, fever, chills, flu symptoms, or any signs of infection.

What should I avoid while using gemcitabine (Gemzar)?

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using gemcitabine, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), oral polio, rotavirus, smallpox, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), H1N1 influenza, and nasal flu vaccine.

What other drugs will affect gemcitabine (Gemzar)?

There may be other drugs that can interact with gemcitabine. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about gemcitabine.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2013 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01. Revision date: 9/13/2011.

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