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Alimpta

MichaelaMarie
Posts: 163
Joined: Aug 2005

Hello,

I am visiting from over at the Ovarian Cancer board. I'm hoping that some of you might be able to give me more information about Alimpta. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost six years ago and have basically never been in remission. I have been on many, many different chemotherapy treatments and as you know, they quit working after awhile. My doctor is going to start me on Alimpta in the next few days. Apparently it has now been approved for use with ovarian cancer, but statistically not that great......25%. My doctor said it could be very hard on my blood counts, however, most of them are. If you have any information or advice, please let me know. Take good care everyone......Hugs, MM

hopehope
Posts: 21
Joined: Jun 2009

Hello dear,
My mom had 6 cycles of Alimta as3rd line of Chemo. The side effects she had was severe Fatigue. Some times she had minor hear aches and tingling on the feet. She managed to have required blood count for every cycle. Some times she had to wait a week extra to cope up the blood counts. Unfortunately my mom had little response to ALIMTA 15% and doctor suggested it is not worth to try any more. My mom has STage 4 Lung cancer diagnosed in Nov 2008 and batteling for life. Doctors told me that AMILTA doesn't have harsh side effects as other chemo does. It may be easy to handle for most of the people. When I did research on ALIMTA some people did had side effects. Hope this helps. I dont know about the ALIMTA response rate on Ovarian Cancer. You can google and find out more information.Take care.

MommasGirl527
Posts: 8
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi MM...

My mom is currently taking Alimta combined with Carboplatin. Her side effects are really minimal, just some fatigue. However, she is having a lot of problems with both her white count and her red count. She is taking injections for both, and feeling pretty good, but I believe while on Alimta you must watch your counts.

All the best to you, MM...

MichaelaMarie
Posts: 163
Joined: Aug 2005

Thank you both for your input, it really does help. My doctor has said that the protocol calls for me to take 4 miligrams of Folic Acid a day, plus taking B-12 shots. They already gave me a B-12 shot the other day. Also, he is having me take Dexamethosom(sp?)(steroid) the day before, the day of, and the day after. Do you think that this regimen is to help with the blood counts? I have just come off Cisplatin/Gemzar, and always had to take Arnesp at every infusion. The shot kept my RBC at just over 10. The FDA has just reported that Arnesp can cause the cancer to grow. I brought this up to him the other day, and he explained it away in my case. He said the study involved situations where the doctors were getting the RBC up too high.....11+, etc., etc. The report said that patients should consult with their doctor about this new data. Thanks again, and with hugs, MM

CCAOG
Posts: 31
Joined: Dec 2009

I am currently on Alimpta with Gensar . I am on a 3 week cycle. week 1 Alimpta and Gemsar . Week 2 just Gemsar. Week 3 Alimpta and Gemsar. My side effects started following week 1. Unfortunatly, I got every side effect that was in the Alimpta catalog.This is my second round of chemo. I went into remission after the first. The cancer then mastisized to several other spots. I did 7 months of chemo the first time and if you wrapped up the side effects I got then into a package, in the first week of Alimpta and Gemsar I got more than what was in that package. Good Luck.

MichaelaMarie
Posts: 163
Joined: Aug 2005

Hello CCAOG,

Thank you for responding. I'm leaving home in about an hour to do my first Alimpta infusion. With ovarian cancer we have a marker called CA-125. Normal for someone that has ovarian cancer is 0-20, for others it is 0-35. Unfortunately, my marker is spiking rapidly, over 600 about three weeks ago, probably well over 1200 or much more by now. I have a tumor in a lymph gland in my neck area that has visibly grown in the last week. Scary stuff. Of course, I have several fast growing tumors in my abdomen. At the end of May I will be a six year survivor which the doctors are still in shock about, but my list of chemotherapies to try is getting much, much shorter. My doctor thinks that my insurance might refuse any more treatment soon. I told him I don't understand that in that each chemo has prolonged my life until the cancer becomes resistant to it. Also, otherwise I am doing pretty well, and still have a fairly good quality of life. I'm wondering if they know yet if the Alimpta is working, that is why I asked about a marker. I get cat scans every two weeks, which I hate. Apparently, I will be getting the Alimpta just by it's self....every three weeks. I hope and pray that this drug works for both of us!!!!! Thanks again, MM

MichaelaMarie
Posts: 163
Joined: Aug 2005

Hi again,

I re-read my post, and lo and behold, I said I got cat scans every two weeks. I meant to say every two months!!! Of course, with all of the radiation, etc., that feels too often too! MM

CCAOG
Posts: 31
Joined: Dec 2009

Good Morning, I went for a treatment Friday. When I saw the Dr. and told him of the troubles I was having, he thinks that most of the problems I have been having are from the Gemsar and not the Alimpta. He reduced the amount of Gemsar I am getting by over 500mg. Hopefully that will curb some of the side effect I have been having. It will also let us know if they were from the Alimpta or the Gemsar. I will let you know as things develope. All the best, Jeff

augigi
Posts: 89
Joined: Dec 2009

My mother gets Alimta and Carboplatin every 3 weeks. SHe's had 9 doses over almost a year, with a 3 month break after the first 6 doses. She also take dexamethasone the day of and 3 days after the treatment. This is not for blood counts, but for nausea. She takes folic acid daily and B12 injections every 8 weeks. Until the last treatment, she had basically no side effects other than vague nausea on day 4 post chemo for about 3 days. She has a blood test the friday before she has chemo to check WBC and RBC levels, along with monitor kidney function. So far, no problems and she has had an excellent response to the chemo - now off oxygen and much less pain since tumor shrunk. It did grow quickly when she stopped chemo for a few months.

MichaelaMarie
Posts: 163
Joined: Aug 2005

I appreciate the feed-back about your mother's treatment with Alimpta. I had my first one last Friday. Friday evening I had sudden, severe sharp pains about a half dozen times (in the area of my resection surgery of almost a year ago). The next day, I did have a few more, but they weren't severe. I have to admit that I did stop at the Sub-Way Sandwich place for dinner take-out, and I did have Jalepeno peppers on the sandwich. Could that have been the cause, or hopefully, could it be cancer cells being killed? As I posted earlier, I didn't feel well on Saturday, worse on Sunday, and not good on Monday. Each day since seems somewhat better. I have bouts of nausea and stomach cramps. They told me that one of the side effects of Alimpta could be diarrhea, so I didn't take the strong action against constipation that I usually do (although I did take something). I think some constipation hasn't helped me feel very well also. I, too, am taking folic acid, and have already taken a B-12 shot. Good to know the schedule, since it wasn't mentioed to me. Augigi, how is your mother's blood counts doing? That is a real worry for me. What do you think I could do after the next treatment to allleviate some of the nausea and pain, and just plain lousy feeling? Definitely, something strong for constipation. I've been drinking Ginger Ale instead of water......that seems to help with the nausea. The anti-nausea pills they give me do fairly well, but make me pretty sleepy. Again, thanks for the input. All information helps. I'm so happy to hear that the Alimpta is knocking back your Mother's cancer.....that's great. MM

augigi
Posts: 89
Joined: Dec 2009

I can't advise you about nausea etc - I would ask your dr. I would mention that mum is taking Kytril (granisetron) for 3 days after chemo to help with nausea which is dynamite to cause constipation, so she does have to keep up her Movicol to avoid constipation. Her blood counts have always been fine. She found eating certain things helped avoid the "blah" feeling - apples and lasagna, funnily enough (separately!)

tessyc's picture
tessyc
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm a caregiver for my 58 year old Mother who was diagnosed with Stage 4 NSCLC (in September 07)that gone to her brain. They did immediate full brain radation on the brain tumors since they we causing swelling and she was passing out. This is actually how we discovered she had cancer. After the radation was completed they started her on a Carbo/Cisplatin cocktail that took 4 to 5 hours to complete each time she went in. The first cycle was great and everything had shrunk. after the Second cycle tests showed growth a new spot on her liver and she had neropathy so they stopped it. At that point They decided on alimta for the next round of treatment. She had been getting treatment every three weeks starting in June '08. Recently to give her a break they extended it to every 4 weeks. She has had 30 cycles of alimta with very few side effects. Those being fatigue and has short term memory loss but that is from the radiation. The tumors in her brain were gone shortly after the radiation was over. The tumor in her lung is barely detectable now and there is just a tiny spot on her liver. That wouldn't even be called cancer if they hadn't already seen something there.

She has never been what I would call a fighter. Although from the above account it may appear differently. She has had trouble with drugs and drinking her whole life. Her diet is really bad and I have always been more of a mom to her than vice versa. She will even admit this. I am completely the oppisite. I have never done drugs, I only drink socially, I eat pretty healthy and go to the gym regularly. I come to her house every week and orgianize her pills for her. I pick her up and drive her to the treatments and dr visits. I stay with her while she is at the treatment center and then take her home after. The treament itself is only about 10 mins but she gets blood drawn and has a dr visit on the same day. So the whole trip including driving to and from the hospital is about 5-6 hours. We chat in the car, watch tv at the infusion center and usually go have lunch.

Lately She has been complaining about the trip to the hospital and the treatments and is talking about taking a break from the Chemo. She says she feels ok but she is just tired of going there. I think it's a terrible idea because I truly beleive this treatment is what is keeping her alive. Ultmately it is her decision but considering the fact that she is now on disability fighting her cancer is the only thing she has to do and she only needs to do that every 4 weeks. I know people deal with things differently but this is just really hard to comprehend. Can anyone help me understand this or am I right? Should I push her to continue or let her take her "break". She had been having the alimta treatments for 1 year and 10 months now. Has anyone heard of being on this treatment this long?

I am willing to listen to any advice or comments you may have.

MichaelaMarie
Posts: 163
Joined: Aug 2005

Hello Tessy,

Thank you for responding to my post about Alimpta. The information you provided has been most helpful. I have only had one treatment of it so far, and it was fairly rugged. I had nausea with vomiting, and pain (like gas pains). Two weeks later, I am feeling much better. I was so happy to hear that your mother has been on Alimpta for a year and 10 months. I have been on many different drugs and usually become resistant at six months, if not sooner. My doctor makes it sound like there isn't many left for me to try, so I am putting lots of hope in Alimpta. You are a WONDERFUL daughter! My daughter lives several hours away, but I would absolutely love having her go with me occasionally to treatment, out to lunch, etc. I must admit that I don't understand your mother's reasoning on wanting to go off Alimpta. It doesn't sound like it has been too hard on her, or am I wrong? I love my life and would want to continue doing anything that will prolong it! I can't tell you that I understand your mother wanting to discontinue treatment for a while.....that would scare me to death. However, if the treatment makes her terribly sick each time, that is more understandable. Do you think that perhaps your mother is suffering from depression? Thanks again for writing, Tessy. Hugs, MM

tessyc's picture
tessyc
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2010

Thank so much for the kind words. I do try. My mom seems to have had it easy compared to eveyone else I have talked to. Hence the reason I don't understand her wanting the break. Although something you said did spark a thought. She has struggled with depression her whole life and is currently on Antidepressants but maybe this should be looked at, maybe it's time for a change in dosage. We are in buffalo and the winter has been pretty tough this year. Maybe once spring hits her outlook will be better. Lots and Lots of Maybe's

Good luck with the Alimta I hope you have as much success as my mom has.

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