Gemcitabine forms part of the group of drugs known as anti-metabolites. This drug causes cancer cells to die by preventing malignant cancer cells from making DNA and RNA. Apart from the treatment of mesothelioma it is used in the treatment of other types of cancer such as breast cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the pancreas.

Gemcitabine is taken intravenously or through a central line. The dosage and timing will depend on many factors such as the general health of the patient and the characteristics of the cancer concerned.

Side effects of Gemcitabine may include some of the following:

  • A higher risk of infections
  • Fatigue
  • Problems with breathing/Tiredness/Weakness
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Bruising /Bleeding
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Hair thinning/Hair loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Swelling in parts of the body
  • Sore mouth
  • Kidney problems
  • Loss of fertility
  • Amenorrhea (Absence of menstrual periods)