Precautions

Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests will be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Receiving this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. It may also cause birth defects if the father is receiving it when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. Female patients should use effective birth control during treatment with this medicine and for at least 6 months after the last dose. Male patients who have female partners should use effective birth control during treatment with this medicine and for at least 3 months after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while receiving this medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Gemcitabine can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are needed for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

  • If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
  • Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Also, check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
  • Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.

This medicine may cause lung problems (eg, interstitial pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary edema, adult respiratory distress syndrome), which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Check with your doctor right away if you have new or worsening cough, fever, chest tightness, or trouble breathing.

This medicine may cause kidney problems, including hemolytic uremic syndrome, thrombotic microangiopathy, and kidney failure. Check with your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, blood in the urine, fever, increased or decreased urination, pinpoint red spots on the skin, swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs, unusual bleeding or bruising, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin.

Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

This medicine may cause a condition called capillary leak syndrome. It can cause fluid to leak from the blood vessels into your body's tissues. Call your doctor right away if you have swelling or puffiness and are urinating less often, trouble breathing, feeling of fullness, dizziness, or feeling faint.

Tell your doctor right away if you have seizures, headache, confusion, vision problems, unusual drowsiness, tiredness, or weakness. These could be symptoms of a serious nervous system problem called posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES).

If you plan to have children, talk with your doctor before receiving this medicine. Some men using this medicine have become infertile (unable to have children).