logo
oncology header image
The authors make no claims of the accuracy of the information contained herein; and these suggested doses and/or guidelines are not a substitute for clinical judgment. Neither GlobalRPh Inc. nor any other party involved in the preparation of this document shall be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting in whole or part from any user's use of or reliance upon this material.    PLEASE READ THE DISCLAIMER CAREFULLY BEFORE ACCESSING OR USING THIS SITE. BY ACCESSING OR USING THIS SITE, YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN THE DISCLAIMER.

Drug:   Pemetrexed - Alimta®

Usual Diluents

NS

Dilution Data

DILUTION SUMMARY

[Amount of drug] [Infusion volume] [Infusion rate]

[Prescribed dose] [ 100 ml ] [10-15 minutes]

Preparation for Intravenous Infusion Administration:
  1. Use aseptic technique during the reconstitution and further dilution of ALIMTA for intravenous infusion administration.
  2. Calculate the dose of ALIMTA and determine the number of vials needed. Vials contain either 100 mg or 500 mg of ALIMTA. The vials contain an excess of ALIMTA to facilitate delivery of label amount.
  3. Reconstitute each 100-mg vial with 4.2 ml of 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection (preservative free). Reconstitute each 500-mg vial with 20 mL of 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection (preservative free). Reconstitution of either size vial gives a solution containing 25 mg/mL ALIMTA. Gently swirl each vial until the powder is completely dissolved. The resulting solution is clear and ranges in color from colorless to yellow or green-yellow without adversely affecting product quality. The pH of the reconstituted ALIMTA solution is between 6.6 and 7.8. FURTHER DILUTION IS REQUIRED.
  4. Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit. If particulate matter is observed, do not administer.
  5. An appropriate quantity of the reconstituted ALIMTA solution must be further diluted into a solution of 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection (preservative free), so that the total volume of solution is 100 ml. ALIMTA is administered as an intravenous infusion over 10 minutes.
  6. Chemical and physical stability of reconstituted and infusion solutions of ALIMTA were demonstrated for up to 24 hours following initial reconstitution, when stored at refrigerated or ambient room temperature and lighting. When prepared as directed, reconstitution and infusion solutions of ALIMTA contain no antimicrobial preservatives. Discard any unused portion.

Compatibility:  Reconstitution and further dilution prior to intravenous infusion is only recommended with 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection (preservative free). ALIMTA is physically incompatible with diluents containing calcium, including Lactated Ringer's Injection, USP and Ringer's Injection, USP and therefore these should not be used. Coadministration of ALIMTA with other drugs and diluents has not been studied, and therefore is not recommended. ALIMTA is compatible with standard polyvinyl chloride (PVC) administration sets and intravenous solution bags.

Stability / Miscellaneous

WARNINGS_AND_PRECAUTIONS CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY INDICATIONS
CONTRAINDICATIONS DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION RECONSTITUTION / DILUTION
  HOW SUPPLIED  
Note: double mouse click to return to the top of the page


STABILITY: Chemical and physical stability of reconstituted and infusion solutions of ALIMTA were demonstrated for up to 24 hours following initial reconstitution, when stored refrigerated, 2-8°C (36-46°F), or at 25°C (77°F), excursions permitted to 15-30°C (59-86°F).



CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY
Mechanism of Action
ALIMTA, pemetrexed for injection, is a folate analog metabolic inhibitor that exerts its action by disrupting folate-dependent metabolic processes essential for cell replication. In vitro studies have shown that pemetrexed inhibits thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), and glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase (GARFT), which are folate-dependent enzymes involved in the de novo biosynthesis of thymidine and purine nucleotides. Pemetrexed is taken into cells by membrane carriers such as the reduced folate carrier and membrane folate binding protein transport systems. Once in the cell, pemetrexed is converted to polyglutamate forms by the enzyme folylpolyglutamate synthetase. The polyglutamate forms are retained in cells and are inhibitors of TS and GARFT. Polyglutamation is a time- and concentration-dependent process that occurs in tumor cells and, is thought to occur to a lesser extent, in normal tissues. Polyglutamated metabolites are thought to have an increased intracellular half-life resulting in prolonged drug action in malignant cells.


Pharmacodynamics
Preclinical studies have shown that pemetrexed inhibits the in vitro growth of mesothelioma cell lines (MSTO-211H, NCI-H2052). Studies with the MSTO-211H mesothelioma cell line showed synergistic effects when pemetrexed was combined concurrently with cisplatin.

Absolute neutrophil counts (ANC) following single-agent administration of ALIMTA to patients not receiving folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation were characterized using population pharmacodynamic analyses. Severity of hematologic toxicity, as measured by the depth of the ANC nadir, correlates with the systemic exposure, or area under the curve (AUC) of pemetrexed. It was also observed that lower ANC nadirs occurred in patients with elevated baseline cystathionine or homocysteine concentrations. The levels of these substances can be reduced by folic acid and vitamin B12 supplementation. There is no cumulative effect of pemetrexed exposure on ANC nadir over multiple treatment cycles.

Time to ANC nadir with pemetrexed systemic exposure (AUC), varied between 8 to 9.6 days over a range of exposures from 38.3 to 316.8 mcg•hr/mL. Return to baseline ANC occurred 4.2 to 7.5 days after the nadir over the same range of exposures.


INDICATIONS AND USAGE
1.1  Nonsquamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - Combination with Cisplatin
ALIMTA is indicated in combination with cisplatin therapy for the initial treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer.


1.2  Nonsquamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - Maintenance
ALIMTA is indicated for the maintenance treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer whose disease has not progressed after four cycles of platinum-based first-line chemotherapy.


1.3  Nonsquamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - After Prior Chemotherapy
ALIMTA is indicated as a single-agent for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer after prior chemotherapy.


1.4  Mesothelioma
ALIMTA in combination with cisplatin is indicated for the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma whose disease is unresectable or who are otherwise not candidates for curative surgery.


1.5  Limitations of Use
ALIMTA is not indicated for the treatment of patients with squamous cell non-small cell lung cancer.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
2.1 Combination Use with Cisplatin
Nonsquamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

The recommended dose of ALIMTA is 500 mg/m2 administered as an intravenous infusion over 10 minutes on Day 1 of each 21-day cycle. The recommended dose of cisplatin is 75 mg/m2 infused over 2 hours beginning approximately 30 minutes after the end of ALIMTA administration. Patients should receive appropriate hydration prior to and/or after receiving cisplatin. See cisplatin package insert for more information.


2.2  Single-Agent Use
Nonsquamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
The recommended dose of ALIMTA is 500 mg/m2 administered as an intravenous infusion over 10 minutes on Day 1 of each 21-day cycle.


2.3  Premedication Regimen

Vitamin Supplementation
To reduce toxicity, patients treated with ALIMTA must be instructed to take a low-dose oral folic acid preparation or multivitamin with folic acid on a daily basis. At least 5 daily doses of folic acid must be taken during the 7-day period preceding the first dose of ALIMTA; and dosing should continue during the full course of therapy and for 21 days after the last dose of ALIMTA. Patients must also receive one (1) intramuscular injection of vitamin B12 during the week preceding the first dose of ALIMTA and every 3 cycles thereafter. Subsequent vitamin B12 injections may be given the same day as ALIMTA. In clinical trials, the dose of folic acid studied ranged from 350 to 1000 mcg, and the dose of vitamin B12 was 1000 mcg. The most commonly used dose of oral folic acid in clinical trials was 400 mcg [see PACKAGE INSERT - Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].


Corticosteroid
Skin rash has been reported more frequently in patients not pretreated with a corticosteroid. Pretreatment with dexamethasone (or equivalent) reduces the incidence and severity of cutaneous reaction. In clinical trials, dexamethasone 4 mg was given by mouth twice daily the day before, the day of, and the day after ALIMTA administration [see PACKAGE INSERT - Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

2.4  Laboratory Monitoring and Dose Reduction/Discontinuation

Recommendations-------------------------------
Monitoring

Complete blood cell counts, including platelet counts, should be performed on all patients receiving ALIMTA. Patients should be monitored for nadir and recovery, which were tested in the clinical study before each dose and on days 8 and 15 of each cycle. Patients should not begin a new cycle of treatment unless the ANC is GEQ1500 cells/mm3, the platelet count is GEQ100,000 cells/mm3, and creatinine clearance is GEQ45 mL/min. Periodic chemistry tests should be performed to evaluate renal and hepatic function [see  PACKAGE INSERT - Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].


Dose Reduction Recommendations
Dose adjustments at the start of a subsequent cycle should be based on nadir hematologic counts or maximum nonhematologic toxicity from the preceding cycle of therapy. Treatment may be delayed to allow sufficient time for recovery. Upon recovery, patients should be retreated using the guidelines in Tables 1-3, which are suitable for using ALIMTA as a single-agent or in combination with cisplatin.

Table 1: Dose Reduction for ALIMTA (single-agent or in combination) and Cisplatin - Hematologic Toxicities
Nadir ANC <500/mm3 and nadir platelets GEQ50,000/mm3. 75% of previous dose (pemetrexed and cisplatin).
Nadir platelets <50,000/mm3 without bleeding regardless of nadir ANC. 75% of previous dose (pemetrexed and cisplatin).
Nadir platelets <50,000/mm3 with bleeding*, regardless of nadir ANC. 50% of previous dose (pemetrexed and cisplatin).
*These criteria meet the CTC version 2.0 (NCI 1998) definition of GEQCTC Grade 2 bleeding.

If patients develop nonhematologic toxicities (excluding neurotoxicity) GEQGrade 3, treatment should be withheld until resolution to less than or equal to the patient's pre-therapy value. Treatment should be resumed according to guidelines in Table 2.

Table 2: Dose Reduction for ALIMTA (single-agent or in combination) and Cisplatin - Nonhematologic Toxicitiesa,b .
  Dose of ALIMTA
(mg/m2)
Dose of Cisplatin
(mg/m2)
Any Grade 3 or 4 toxicities except mucositis 75% of previous dose 75% of previous dose
Any diarrhea requiring hospitalization (irrespective of Grade) or Grade 3 or 4 diarrhea 75% of previous dose 75% of previous dose
Grade 3 or 4 mucositis 50% of previous dose 100% of previous dose
a. NCI Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC).
b. Excluding neurotoxicity (see Table 3).


In the event of neurotoxicity, the recommended dose adjustments for ALIMTA and cisplatin are described in Table 3. Patients should discontinue therapy if Grade 3 or 4 neurotoxicity is experienced.

Table 3: Dose Reduction for ALIMTA (single-agent or in combination) and Cisplatin - Neurotoxicity
  Dose of ALIMTA (mg/m2) Dose of Cisplatin (mg/m2)
CTC Grade    
0-1 100% of previous dose 100% of previous dose
2 100% of previous dose 50% of previous dose


Discontinuation Recommendation
ALIMTA therapy should be discontinued if a patient experiences any hematologic or nonhematologic Grade 3 or 4 toxicity after 2 dose reductions or immediately if Grade 3 or 4 neurotoxicity is observed.

Renally Impaired Patients
In clinical studies, patients with creatinine clearance GEQ45 mL/min required no dose adjustments other than those recommended for all patients. Insufficient numbers of patients with creatinine clearance below 45 mL/min have been treated to make dosage recommendations for this group of patients [see PACKAGE INSERT - Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. Therefore, ALIMTA should not be administered to patients whose creatinine clearance is <45 mL/min using the standard Cockcroft and Gault formula (below) or GFR measured by Tc99m-DPTA serum clearance method:
Creatinine clearance for males = [140-age (years)]× [actual body wt (kg)]
72 × [serum creatinine (mg/dL)]
Creatinine clearance for females = [140-age (years)]× [actual body wt (kg)]× 0.85
72 × [serum creatinine (mg/dL)]

Caution should be exercised when administering ALIMTA concurrently with NSAIDs to patients whose creatinine clearance is <80 mL/min [see Drug Interactions (7.1)].


2.5  Preparation and Administration Precautions
As with other potentially toxic anticancer agents, care should be exercised in the handling and preparation of infusion solutions of ALIMTA. The use of gloves is recommended. If a solution of ALIMTA contacts the skin, wash the skin immediately and thoroughly with soap and water. If ALIMTA contacts the mucous membranes, flush thoroughly with water. Several published guidelines for handling and disposal of anticancer agents are available [see References BELOW].

ALIMTA is not a vesicant. There is no specific antidote for extravasation of ALIMTA. To date, there have been few reported cases of ALIMTA extravasation, which were not assessed as serious by the investigator. ALIMTA extravasation should be managed with local standard practice for extravasation as with other non-vesicants.


2.6  Preparation for Intravenous Infusion Administration
  1. Use aseptic technique during the reconstitution and further dilution of ALIMTA for intravenous infusion administration.
  2. Calculate the dose of ALIMTA and determine the number of vials needed. Vials contain either 100 mg or 500 mg of ALIMTA. The vials contain an excess of ALIMTA to facilitate delivery of label amount.
  3. Reconstitute each 100-mg vial with 4.2 ml of 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection (preservative free). Reconstitute each 500-mg vial with 20 mL of 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection (preservative free). Reconstitution of either size vial gives a solution containing 25 mg/mL ALIMTA. Gently swirl each vial until the powder is completely dissolved. The resulting solution is clear and ranges in color from colorless to yellow or green-yellow without adversely affecting product quality. The pH of the reconstituted ALIMTA solution is between 6.6 and 7.8. FURTHER DILUTION IS REQUIRED.
  4. Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit. If particulate matter is observed, do not administer.
  5. An appropriate quantity of the reconstituted ALIMTA solution must be further diluted into a solution of 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection (preservative free), so that the total volume of solution is 100 ml. ALIMTA is administered as an intravenous infusion over 10 minutes.
  6. Chemical and physical stability of reconstituted and infusion solutions of ALIMTA were demonstrated for up to 24 hours following initial reconstitution, when stored at refrigerated or ambient room temperature [see USP Controlled Room Temperature] and lighting. When prepared as directed, reconstitution and infusion solutions of ALIMTA contain no antimicrobial preservatives. Discard any unused portion.
Reconstitution and further dilution prior to intravenous infusion is only recommended with 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection (preservative free). ALIMTA is physically incompatible with diluents containing calcium, including Lactated Ringer's Injection, USP and Ringer's Injection, USP and therefore these should not be used. Coadministration of ALIMTA with other drugs and diluents has not been studied, and therefore is not recommended. ALIMTA is compatible with standard polyvinyl chloride (PVC) administration sets and intravenous solution bags.


3.  DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS
ALIMTA, pemetrexed for injection, is a white to either light-yellow or green-yellow lyophilized powder available in sterile single-use vials containing 100 mg or 500 mg pemetrexed.


4.  CONTRAINDICATIONS
ALIMTA is contraindicated in patients who have a history of severe hypersensitivity reaction to pemetrexed or to any other ingredient used in the formulation.


5.  WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS-----------------------------------------
5.1 Premedication Regimen

Need for Folate and Vitamin B12 Supplementation
Patients treated with ALIMTA must be instructed to take folic acid and vitamin B12 as a prophylactic measure to reduce treatment-related hematologic and GI toxicity [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)]. In clinical studies, less overall toxicity and reductions in Grade 3/4 hematologic and nonhematologic toxicities such as neutropenia, febrile neutropenia, and infection with Grade 3/4 neutropenia were reported when pretreatment with folic acid and vitamin B12 was administered.


Corticosteroid Supplementation
Skin rash has been reported more frequently in patients not pretreated with a corticosteroid in clinical trials. Pretreatment with dexamethasone (or equivalent) reduces the incidence and severity of cutaneous reaction [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)].


5.2  Bone Marrow Suppression
ALIMTA can suppress bone marrow function, as manifested by neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and anemia (or pancytopenia) [see PACKAGE INSERT - Adverse Reactions (6.1)]; myelosuppression is usually the dose-limiting toxicity. Dose reductions for subsequent cycles are based on nadir ANC, platelet count, and maximum nonhematologic toxicity seen in the previous cycle [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].

5.3  Decreased Renal Function
ALIMTA is primarily eliminated unchanged by renal excretion. No dosage adjustment is needed in patients with creatinine clearance GEQ45 mL/min. Insufficient numbers of patients have been studied with creatinine clearance <45 mL/min to give a dose recommendation. Therefore, ALIMTA should not be administered to patients whose creatinine clearance is <45 mL/min [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].

One patient with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance 19 mL/min) who did not receive folic acid and vitamin B12 died of drug-related toxicity following administration of ALIMTA alone.


5.4  Use with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs with Mild to Moderate Renal Insufficiency
Caution should be used when administering ibuprofen concurrently with ALIMTA to patients with mild to moderate renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance from 45 to 79 mL/min). Other NSAIDs should also be used with caution [see Drug Interactions (7.1)].


5.5  Required Laboratory Monitoring
Patients should not begin a new cycle of treatment unless the ANC is GEQ1500 cells/mm3, the platelet count is GEQ100,000 cells/mm3, and creatinine clearance is GEQ45 mL/min [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].


5.6  Pregnancy Category D
Based on its mechanism of action, ALIMTA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Pemetrexed administered intraperitoneally to mice during organogenesis was embryotoxic, fetotoxic and teratogenic in mice at greater than 1/833rd the recommended human dose. If ALIMTA is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant. Women should be advised to use effective contraceptive measures to prevent pregnancy during treatment with ALIMTA [see PACKAGE INSERT FOR Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].


5.7 Third Space Fluid
The effect of third space fluid, such as pleural effusion and ascites, on ALIMTA is unknown. In patients with clinically significant third space fluid, consideration should be given to draining the effusion prior to ALIMTA administration.


HOW SUPPLIED/STORAGE AND HANDLING

How Supplied
ALIMTA, pemetrexed for injection, is available in sterile single-use vials containing 100 mg pemetrexed.

NDC 0002-7640-01 (VL7640): single-use vial with ivory flip-off cap individually packaged in a carton.

ALIMTA, pemetrexed for injection, is available in sterile single-use vials containing 500 mg pemetrexed.

NDC 0002-7623-01 (VL7623): single-use vial with ivory flip-off cap individually packaged in a carton.



Storage and Handling
ALIMTA, pemetrexed for injection, should be stored at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15-30°C (59-86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature].

Chemical and physical stability of reconstituted and infusion solutions of ALIMTA were demonstrated for up to 24 hours following initial reconstitution, when stored refrigerated, 2-8°C (36-46°F), or at 25°C (77°F), excursions permitted to 15-30°C (59-86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]. When prepared as directed, reconstituted and infusion solutions of ALIMTA contain no antimicrobial preservatives. Discard unused portion [see Dosage and Administration (2.5)].

ALIMTA is not light sensitive.


Reference(s)

1)  [PACKAGE INSERT DATA] : ALIMTA (pemetrexed disodium) injection, powder, lyophilized, for solution. [Eli Lilly and Company]  Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA. Revised: 05/2010.

--------------------
HANDLING:
  1. Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings. NIOSH Alert 2004-165.
  2. OSHA Technical Manual, TED 1-0.15A, Section VI: Chapter 2. Controlling Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Drugs. OSHA, 1999. http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_vi/otm_vi_2.html
  3. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. ASHP guidelines on handling hazardous drugs. Am J Health-Syst Pharm. 2006; 63:1172-1193.
  4. Polovich, M., White, J. M., & Kelleher, L. O. (eds.) 2005. Chemotherapy and biotherapy guidelines and recommendations for practice (2nd. ed.) Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Society.

< Disclaimer > top of page icon

The authors make no claims of the accuracy of the information contained herein; and these suggested doses and/or guidelines are not a substitute for clinical judgment. Neither GlobalRPh Inc. nor any other party involved in the preparation of this document shall be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting in whole or part from any user's use of or reliance upon this material.    PLEASE READ THE DISCLAIMER CAREFULLY BEFORE ACCESSING OR USING THIS SITE. BY ACCESSING OR USING THIS SITE, YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN THE DISCLAIMER.
Medical Calculators - A thru Z
Lab Values - A thru Z