Effects of Gemzar

One previous study looked at using Gemzar to treat ovarian cancer. This medication, when combined with carboplatin (Paraplatin®), was compared with just carboplatin alone for treating women with ovarian cancer that had relapsed at least six months after previous chemotherapy treatment. In this study, adding Gemzar increased the time these women survived without their cancer becoming worse (from 5.8 months with just carboplatin up to 8.6 months when Gemzar was added).
Another study evaluated the effectiveness of Gemzar for breast cancer. This medication was added to another chemotherapy medication, paclitaxel (Taxol®) in people with breast cancer who had already undergone breast cancer surgery and whose cancer had not responded to chemotherapy treatment with a different type of cancer medication (called anthracyclines). Adding Gemzar increased the time until the breast cancer became worse (from 2.9 months for those taking just paclitaxel, up to 5.2 months with Gemzar added).
This medication has also been studied for treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study compared Gemzar combined with cisplatin (Platinol®) to just cisplatin alone. After one year, 39 percent of those who had taken the cisplatin-plus-Gemzar combination were still living, compared to only 28 percent of those who had taken just cisplatin.
Two studies have looked at using Gemzar for pancreatic cancer. One of these studies compared this medication to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil®), while the other study looked at whether Gemzar is effective in people who have already tried 5-fluorouracil unsuccessfully. In these studies, Gemzar was more effective than 5-fluorouracil and could be used when 5-fluorouracil had failed.

When and How to Take It

Some general considerations for when and how to take Gemzar include the following:
  • The medication is administered intravenously (through an IV).
  • Most people receive their injections at a healthcare provider's office, a hospital, or an "infusion center."
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Gemzar will not work as well if you stop taking it before your healthcare provider recommends.
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