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Anyone treated with Alimta?

Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2006

My father has nsclc stage IV. Primary tumor was baseball size and found in the left lung with one spot on the left kidney and several lymph nodes in mediastinum and base of neck. He started 6 weeks of radiation which he has completed along with weekly carboplatin. He was unable to receive taxol or docetaxol due to an allergic reaction. Follow up scans 3 weeks after radiation show very little shrinkage of tumor along with additional spot on his liver, adrenal gland, other lung and within the same lung. He will be starting Alimta soon.

Anyone have any experience with Alimta and what results have you received from it?

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2006

My wife will be starting this treatment on July 11 2006. She is preping for it right now by taking regular dosages of Folic Acid followed by a B12 shot next week. The doctor has made the change from the taxol & docetaxol due to lung cancer remission but indications of progression of Non-Small Cell Cancer in chest and throat areas.

Based on my reading it doesn't seem like we should expect much change in possible side effects. If anything I would say the change may improve our quality of live given the treatment cylce is 21 days. It seems the immune system recovery is 8 - 10 days. My hope is it will be safe to attend public places after day 12 as long as we minimize crowd exposure by going to afternoon weekday movies and the likes.

Since the original diagnoses Feburary 1 2006 the only thing that has remained constant has been change itself. Every week we seems to have a new health challenge with constant adjustment for treatement and doctors schedules.

Given this is a 21 day cycle we'll not know much about responses for at least 2 months.

reinstones1's picture
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

My Mom started 2nd line treatment with Alimta on 6/16/06.

Her first line treatment was with Taxol/carboplatin, from 1/26 to 5/12/06. Her first round of chemo kept her stable (no tumor shrinkage, but no growth or spread either). She was supposed to have the summer off from treatment, but due to a recurrence of fluid around her R lung right after her first line treatment was through (malignant pleural effusion, or MPE), she and her doctor opted to start treatment with Alimta right away. The hope is that continued treatment with Alimta will help keep the MPE at bay, and help prevent too-frequent thoracentesis (removal of the fluid via needle into the pleural space).

Side effects are supposed to be less than with Taxol/carboplatin, from what we've read and been told, but so far, it hasn't been an easy time for her. She's only had 1 treatment so far, and she almost immediately got an infection that caused her to be on antibiotics. She's felt REALLY cruddy, as opposed to feeling pretty good before she started Alimta. So is it the Alimta making her feel bad, or is it just coincidence? Hard to know.

The brochure we got for Alimta says that nearly 25% of people get an infection. . . so while not uncommon, I guess, it's still a drag because Mom has been really wiped out. More so than she was during her first round of chemo.

I don't know what to expect from Alimta. . . at this point we're willing to try anything with the hope that it'll be a miracle drug, or prolong her life even a little bit. But from what I've read, Alimta doesn't extend life expectancy by much? But I'm trying to be positive!

Mom was diagnosed on 12/7/05, so here we are 7 months later. Mom's 69th birthday is this week-- we are excited to have reached this point, and hope to be celebrating her 70th next year.

She is Stage 3B or 4, depending on who you talk to. Some doctors consider cancer with MPE Stage 4, and some don't. We don't concern ourselves too much with staging at this point.

Please keep us posted on your Dad's experience with Alimta-- I would be curious to know more about it. I can update you as well!

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2006

UPDATE: My wife had her first treatment yesterday.. She has been suffering from exterme chest pains and neasua prior to the treatments. So it's one day later I still don't know what effects the alimta is having on her.

Stay tuned as it will be 20 more days before the next treatement..

Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2006

Thanks for the input. My dad had his first treatmetn with alimta 4 days ago. He's a little tired but I don't think any more than usuall. So all is going good for now. We won't know if it's helping until after 2 more treatments. Will keep you posted.

gdpawel's picture
Posts: 525
Joined: May 2001

Alimta (pemetrexed) is a very promising drug. It is sort of like a combination of 5FU plus methotrexate, only a bit better. Toxicity is relatively low. It is not a "me too" drug, but is actually a third generation drug (of its kind). It had previously been established that docetaxel improves survival, albeit modestly, compared with supportive care only. A study seems to show a similar survival with pemetrexed compared with docetaxel, but with lesser toxicity. Expense is horrendous, obviously.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2010

My husband was diagnosed Nov. 2009 with stage 4 nsclc. 54 years old. several spots on each lung. build up of fluid around that heart and cause the jugular vein to bulge., this was the reason we went to emergency room. the doctor's prognosis was one year at best with chemo. he took 4 cycles of carboplaitin. and now every 3 weeks of the altima ( pemetrexed) . He is taking this at the McGuire Veterans hospital in Richmond Va. if anyone has a story with this type of chemo..... or this veterans hospital please share. we dont have any choice on a dr. or hospital.... no regular heath insurance. He is a veteran, otherwise we wouldnt even have treatment at all. he seems to be doing fine. very weak at times. they have done several ct scans and say there is no sign of the percardial effusion coming back and tumors are shrinking. also, i wonder why they dont do a PET to investigate the entire body. i feel the veterans hospital is doing all they can. but i dont have anything to compare to. if anyone has any experience with this chemo drug or veterans hospitals please share your sory.

HeartofSoul's picture
Posts: 730
Joined: Dec 2009

I know a member who is now on Almita and is very helpful, she has NSclc. Her member name is "Clsmith" (Cindy) and is in chat during the day often.

she has priv insurance

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