Breast Cancer Home > Gemzar Warnings and Precautions

You should talk with your healthcare provider about Gemzar warnings and precautions prior to starting treatment with the medication. Some of these precautions include the safety of taking the drug when pregnant or breastfeeding, the risk of the drug causing kidney damage or liver problems in some people, and potential drug interactions. You should not take Gemzar if you are allergic to any of the ingredients used to make the medicine.

Gemzar: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Gemzar® (gemcitabine) if you have:
  • A history of low levels of white blood cells in the blood (known medically as neutropenia)
  • Any infection
  • Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Gemzar Warnings and Precautions

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Gemzar include:
  • Gemzar can decrease the bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells. This can result in anemia and other serious conditions. Because your immune system depends on certain blood cells, you may be more susceptible to infections while taking Gemzar (see Chemotherapy and Infections). You may also be at a higher risk of bleeding (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy). You will need regular blood tests to make sure your blood counts are not too low.
  • Gemzar can cause lung damage in some people. Let your healthcare provider know right away if you have difficulty breathing while taking the medication.
  • Gemzar can cause kidney damage or liver problems. You may need blood tests to monitor your kidney and liver function while you are taking Gemzar.
  • A few cases of capillary leak syndrome have been reported in people taking this medication. Capillary leak syndrome is a rare but potentially deadly problem. Signs might include:
    • Fatigue and weakness, along with muscle pain and sometimes fever, vomiting, and diarrhea (these signs appear initially)
    • Severe water weight gain and swelling, combined with low blood pressure (these signs appear later).
  • Gemzar can interact with certain other medications (see Gemzar Drug Interactions).
  • Gemzar is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug during pregnancy (see Gemzar and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if Gemzar passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Gemzar and Breastfeeding).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation

Topics & Medications


Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2020 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.