Prescription Drug Information: PEMETREXED (Page 3 of 6)

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of pemetrexed. 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.

Blood and Lymphatic System — immune-mediated hemolytic anemia
Gastrointestinal — colitis, pancreatitis
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions — edema
Injury, Poisoning, and Procedural Complications — radiation recall
Respiratory — interstitial pneumonitisSkin — Serious and fatal bullous skin conditions, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis


Effects of Ibuprofen on Pemetrexed

Ibuprofen increases exposure (AUC) of pemetrexed [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. In patients with creatinine clearance between 45 mL/min and 79 mL/min:

  • Avoid administration of ibuprofen for 2 days before, the day of, and 2 days following administration of Pemetrexed Injection [see Dosage and Administration (2.5)].
  • Monitor patients more frequently for myelosuppression, renal, and gastrointestinal toxicity, if concomitant administration of ibuprofen cannot be avoided.


8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

Based on findings from animal studies and its mechanism of action, Pemetrexed Injection can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.1)]. There are no available data on Pemetrexed Injection use in pregnant women. In animal reproduction studies, intravenous administration of pemetrexed to pregnant mice during the period of organogenesis was teratogenic, resulting in developmental delays and malformations at doses lower than the recommended human dose of 500 mg/m2 [see Data]. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus [see Use in Special Populations (8.3)].

In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively.


Animal Data

Pemetrexed was teratogenic in mice. Daily dosing of pemetrexed by intravenous injection to pregnant mice during the period of organogenesis increased the incidence of fetal malformations (cleft palate; protruding tongue; enlarged or misshaped kidney; and fused lumbar vertebra) at doses (based on BSA) 0.03 times the human dose of 500 mg/m2. At doses, based on BSA, greater than or equal to 0.0012 times the 500 mg/m2 human dose, pemetrexed administration resulted in dose-dependent increases in developmental delays (incomplete ossification of talus and skull bone; and decreased fetal weight).

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

There is no information regarding the presence of pemetrexed or its metabolites in human milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed infants from Pemetrexed Injection, advise women not to breastfeed during treatment with Pemetrexed Injection and for one week after last dose.

8.3 Females and Males of Reproductive Potential

Based on animal data, pemetrexed can cause malformations and developmental delays when administered to a pregnant woman [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].

Pregnancy Testing

Verify pregnancy status of females of reproductive potential prior to initiating Pemetrexed Injection [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].



Because of the potential for genotoxicity, advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with Pemetrexed Injection and for 6 months after the last dose of Pemetrexed Injection.


Because of the potential for genotoxicity, advise males with female partners of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with Pemetrexed Injection and for 3 months after the last dose [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)].



Pemetrexed Injection may impair fertility in males of reproductive potential. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)].

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of Pemetrexed Injection in pediatric patients have not been established.

The safety and pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed were evaluated in two clinical studies conducted in pediatric patients with recurrent solid tumors (NCT00070473, N=32 and NCT00520936, N=72). Patients in both studies received concomitant vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation and dexamethasone.

No tumor responses were observed. Adverse reactions observed in pediatric patients were similar to those observed in adults.

Pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed in 22 patients age 4 to 18 years enrolled in NCT00070473 were within range of values in adults.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Of the 3,946 patients enrolled in clinical studies of pemetrexed, 34% were 65 and over and 4% were 75 and over. No overall differences in effectiveness were observed between these patients and younger patients. The incidences of Grade 3–4 anemia, fatigue, thrombocytopenia, hypertension, and neutropenia were higher in patients 65 years of age and older as compared to younger patients: in at least one of five randomized clinical trials. [see Adverse Reactions (6.1) and Clinical Studies (14.1, 14.2)].

8.6 Patients with Renal Impairment

Pemetrexed is primarily excreted by the kidneys. Decreased renal function results in reduced clearance and greater exposure (AUC) to pemetrexed compared with patients with normal renal function [Warnings and Precautions (5.2, 5.6) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. No dose is recommended for patients with creatinine clearance less than 45 mL/min [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)].


No drugs are approved for the treatment of Pemetrexed Injection overdose. Based on animal studies, administration of leucovorin may mitigate the toxicities of Pemetrexed Injection overdosage. It is not known whether pemetrexed is dialyzable.


Pemetrexed is a folate analog metabolic inhibitor. The drug substance, pemetrexed disodium (2.5 H2 O), has the chemical name N -[[4-[2-(2-Amino-4-oxo-4,7-dihydro-1H -pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-5-yl)ethyl]phenyl]carbonyl]-L-glutamic acid disodium, hemipentahydrate with a molecular formula of C20 H19 N5 Na2 O6 ∙2.5H2 O and a molecular weight of 516.41. The structural formula is as follows:

Chemical Structure
(click image for full-size original)

Pemetrexed Injection, 100 mg/4 mL, 500 mg/20 mL, and 1 g/40 mL are supplied as a sterile, preservative-free, clear, colorless to pale yellow ready-to-dilute solution in a single-dose vial for intravenous infusion. Each milliliter (mL) contains 25 mg pemetrexed (equivalent to 27.57 mg pemetrexed disodium), 1.2 mg monothioglycerol, water for injection and may contain sodium hydroxide for pH adjustment.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Pemetrexed Injection is a folate analog metabolic inhibitor that disrupts folate-dependent metabolic processes essential for cell replication. In vitro studies show that pemetrexed inhibits thymidylate synthase (TS), dihydrofolate reductase, 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.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Pemetrexed inhibited the in vitro growth of mesothelioma cell lines (MSTO-211H, NCI-H2052) and showed synergistic effects when combined with cisplatin.

Based on population pharmacodynamic analyses, the depth of the absolute neutrophil counts (ANC) nadir correlates with the systemic exposure to pemetrexed and supplementation with folic acid and vitamin B12 . There is no cumulative effect of pemetrexed exposure on ANC nadir over multiple treatment cycles.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


The pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed when pemetrexed was administered as a single agent in doses ranging from 0.2 to 838 mg/m2 infused over a 10-minute period have been evaluated in 426 cancer patients with a variety of solid tumors. Pemetrexed total systemic exposure (AUC) and maximum plasma concentration (Cmax ) increased proportionally with increase of dose. The pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed did not change over multiple treatment cycles.


Pemetrexed has a steady-state volume of distribution of 16.1 liters. In vitro studies indicated that pemetrexed is 81% bound to plasma proteins.


The total systemic clearance of pemetrexed is 91.8 mL/min and the elimination half-life of pemetrexed is 3.5 hours in patients with normal renal function (creatinine clearance of 90 mL/min). As renal function decreases, the clearance of pemetrexed decreases and exposure (AUC) of pemetrexed increases.


Pemetrexed is not metabolized to an appreciable extent.


Pemetrexed is primarily eliminated in the urine, with 70% to 90% of the dose recovered unchanged within the first 24 hours following administration. In vitro studies indicated that pemetrexed is a substrate of OAT3 (organic anion transporter 3), a transporter that is involved in the active secretion of pemetrexed.

Specific Populations

Age (26 to 80 years) and sex had no clinically meaningful effect on the systemic exposure of pemetrexed based on population pharmacokinetic analyses.

Racial Groups

The pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed were similar in Whites and Blacks or African Americans. Insufficient data are available for other ethnic groups.

Patients with Hepatic Impairment

Pemetrexed has not been formally studied in patients with hepatic impairment. No effect of elevated AST, ALT, or total bilirubin on the PK of pemetrexed was observed in clinical studies.

Patients with Renal Impairment

Pharmacokinetic analyses of pemetrexed included 127 patients with impaired renal function. Plasma clearance of pemetrexed decreases as renal function decreases, with a resultant increase in systemic exposure. Patients with creatinine clearances of 45, 50, and 80 mL/min had 65%, 54%, and 13% increases, respectively in systemic exposure (AUC) compared to patients with creatinine clearance of 100 mL/min [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) and Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

Third-Space Fluid

The pemetrexed plasma concentrations in patients with various solid tumors with stable, mild to moderate third-space fluid were comparable to those observed in patients without third-space fluid collections. The effect of severe third-space fluid on pharmacokinetics is not known.

Drug Interaction Studies

Drugs Inhibiting OAT3 Transporter

Ibuprofen, an OAT3 inhibitor, administered at 400 mg four times a day decreased the clearance of pemetrexed and increased its exposure (AUC) by approximately 20% in patients with normal renal function (creatinine clearance >80 mL/min).

In Vitro Studies

Pemetrexed is a substrate for OAT3. Ibuprofen, an OAT3 inhibitor inhibited the uptake of pemetrexed in OAT3-expressing cell cultures with an average [Iu ]/IC50 ratio of 0.38. In vitro data predict that at clinically relevant concentrations, other NSAIDs (naproxen, diclofenac, celecoxib) would not inhibit the uptake of pemetrexed by OAT3 and would not increase the AUC of pemetrexed to a clinically significant extent [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Pemetrexed is a substrate for OAT4. In vitro, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (naproxen, diclofenac, celecoxib) are not inhibitors of OAT4 at clinically relevant concentrations.


Aspirin, administered in low to moderate doses (325 mg every 6 hours), does not affect the pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed.


Cisplatin does not affect the pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed and the pharmacokinetics of total platinum are unaltered by pemetrexed.


Neither folic acid nor vitamin B12 affect the pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed.

Drugs Metabolized by Cytochrome P450 Enzymes

In vitro studies suggest that pemetrexed does not inhibit the clearance of drugs metabolized by CYP3A, CYP2D6, CYP2C9, and CYP1A2. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed prescription drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual prescription drug label and package insert entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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