Discussions With Your Doctor

Your healthcare team is a group of professionals who work together to treat your cancer. Each team member has a different part to play in your treatment. This section outlines the particular role in your care of your oncology nurse, dietician, patient navigator, and pulmonologist, as well as how to create a list of questions for your doctor about your treatment.

Photo of two men walking on a hiking trail
Discussion Guide Icon+

Click on the icon to select topics that interest you. Topics you select will be added to your discussion guide on the right.

Your treatment team

During treatment, you may see some members of your healthcare team more than others, but they are all supporting you.

Oncologist
oncologist icon
Oncology Nurse
oncology nurse icon
Dietician
dietician icon
Patient Navigator
patient navigator icon
Pulmonologist
pulmonologist icon

In the graphic above, move your cursor over a title to learn more about each role.

Create a list of questions for your doctor

Knowing where to start is usually the hardest part of having a conversation about cancer. You may have so many questions that it’s hard to keep them all straight. Create your own list of questions for your doctor.

  • As you go through this site, click on the icon to add a topic and related questions to your list
  • When you’re done, you can delete individual questions from the list by clicking the icon or clicking the discussion guide icon at the right of the page
  • When you’re ready, you can download your list of questions or email it to your doctor for your next visit
  • Or, to add suggested questions to your list based on where you are in treatment, click on the buttons below

When you talk with your doctor, consider bringing a friend or family member along to take notes.

View your questionsDiscussion Guide Icon

Frequently asked questions

Choose a question for more information about NSCLC and ALIMTA.

There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (also known as NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The difference between them has to do with the type of cancer cells (histology), how quickly they grow, and how they respond to treatment.

NSCLC is further divided into squamous and nonsquamous types. Your doctor may have told you that you have “adenocarcinoma” or “large cell carcinoma.” These are two of the subtypes of nonsquamous NSCLC. “Advanced” cancers have usually spread from where they started to other parts of the body. ALIMTA therapy is approved to treat advanced nonsquamous NSCLC. It is not approved for another type of NSCLC called “squamous cell.”

You will usually receive ALIMTA once every 21 days (3 weeks).

Most patients taking ALIMTA will have side effects. The most common side effects of ALIMTA when given alone are tiredness, nausea, and loss of appetite. The most common side effects of ALIMTA when given with cisplatin are vomiting, swelling or sores in your mouth or sore throat, constipation, low white blood cell counts (neutropenia), low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia), and low red blood cell counts (anemia).

Talk with your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or that doesn’t go away.

These are not all the side effects of ALIMTA. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Tell your healthcare provider right away if you:

  • have any signs of infection, fever, bleeding, or severe tiredness
  • have a decrease in the amount of your urine
  • develop blisters, skin sores, skin peeling, or painful sores, or ulcers in your mouth, nose, throat, or genital area
  • get any new or worsening symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, or fever
  • get swelling, blistering, or a rash that looks like a sunburn in an area that was previously treated with radiation

Your healthcare team or insurance company can help you figure out your coverage. You can also contact Lilly PatientOne at 1-866-4PatOne (1-866-472-8663) to discuss ways to cover your medicine.

Download FAQs

Glossary

As you go through this site, you will notice underlined words. When you tap or move your cursor over these words, a definition will pop up on your screen. Try it now: maintenance.

chemotherapy
This is a treatment with one or more anticancer drugs that are intended to kill cancer cells.
cisplatin
A drug used to treat many types of cancer. Cisplatin contains platinum.
constipation
A condition in which stool becomes hard, dry, difficult to pass, and less frequent.
corticosteroid
Any steroid hormone made in the adrenal cortex (the outer part of the adrenal gland).
diarrhea
Frequent and watery bowel movements.
First-line Therapy
This is the first course of chemotherapy given after a cancer diagnosis. Also referred to as “initial therapy.”
folic acid
A nutrient in the vitamin B complex that the body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy.
histology
The specific types of cells that make up your tumor.
initial therapy
This is the first course of chemotherapy given after a cancer diagnosis. Also referred to as “first-line therapy.”
maintenance/maintenance therapy
After initial treatment with ALIMTA, you may be able to continue treatment with ALIMTA if your cancer hasn’t gotten worse. This is called “maintenance therapy.”
Second-line Therapy
Sometimes cancer returns after chemotherapy. Doctors may recommend treatment with a different chemotherapy to help slow the cancer’s growth or to relieve symptoms. This is called “second-line therapy.”
stage
The extent of cancer in the body. Staging is based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and how far the cancer has spread.
tumor
An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Tumors may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
vitamin B12
A nutrient in the vitamin B family that the body needs in small amounts to work properly. Vitamin B12 helps make red blood cells, DNA, RNA, energy, and tissues, and keeps nerve cells healthy.
Indications and Important Safety Information

What Is ALIMTA® (pemetrexed for injection) Approved For?

ALIMTA® (pemetrexed for injection) is approved by the FDA in combination with cisplatin (another chemotherapy drug) for the first (initial) treatment of advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a specific type of NSCLC that has spread.

ALIMTA is approved by the FDA as a single agent (used alone) for maintenance treatment of patients with advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after you have received 4 cycles of chemotherapy that contains platinum for first treatment and your cancer has not progressed.

ALIMTA is approved by the FDA as a single agent (used alone) for the treatment of patients with recurrent, metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a specific type of NSCLC, which has returned or spread after prior chemotherapy.

ALIMTA is not appropriate for people who have a different type of NSCLC called squamous cell.

Important Safety Information for ALIMTA

What is the most important information that I should know about ALIMTA?

ALIMTA can cause serious side effects including:

  • Low blood cell counts. Low blood cell counts can be severe, including low white blood cell counts (neutropenia), low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia), and low red blood cell counts (anemia). Your healthcare provider will do blood test to check your blood cell counts regularly during your treatment with ALIMTA. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any signs of infection, fever, bleeding, or severe tiredness during your treatment with ALIMTA.
  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure. ALIMTA can cause severe kidney problems that can lead to death. Severe vomiting or diarrhea can lead to loss of fluids (dehydration) which may cause kidney problems to become worse. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have a decrease in amount of urine.
  • Severe skin reactions. Severe skin reactions that may lead to death can happen with ALIMTA. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop blisters, skin sores, skin peeling, or painful sores, or ulcers in your mouth, nose, throat or genital area.
  • Lung problems (pneumonitis). ALIMTA can cause serious lung problems that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any new or worsening symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, or fever.
  • Radiation recall. Radiation recall is a skin reaction that can happen in people who have received radiation treatment in the past and are treated with ALIMTA. Tell your healthcare provider if you get swelling, blistering, or a rash that looks like a sunburn in an area that was previously treated with radiation.

Who should not take ALIMTA?

ALIMTA may not be appropriate for some patients. If you are allergic to pemetrexed, tell your doctor because you should not receive it. It is not known if ALIMTA is safe and effective in children.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before receiving ALIMTA?

  • Before receiving ALIMTA, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions including:
    • if you have kidney problems.
    • if you have had radiation therapy.
    • if you think you are pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant as ALIMTA can harm your unborn baby.
      • Females who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment with ALIMTA and for 6 months after the final dose. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant or think you are pregnant during treatment with ALIMTA.
      • Males with female partners who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control (contraception) during treatment with ALIMTA and for 3 months after the final dose.
    • if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, as it is not known if ALIMTA passes into breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment with ALIMTA and for 1 week after the final dose.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems and take a medicine that contains ibuprofen. You should avoid taking ibuprofen for 2 days before, the day of, and 2 days after receiving treatment with ALIMTA.

How is ALIMTA given?

  • It is very important to take folic acid by mouth and receive vitamin B12 injections from your healthcare provider during your treatment with ALIMTA to lower your risk of harmful side effects.
  • Your healthcare provider will prescribe a medicine called a corticosteroid for you to take 2 times a day for 3 days, beginning the day before each treatment with ALIMTA.
  • ALIMTA is given to you by intravenous (IV) infusion (injection) into your vein. The infusion is given over 10 minutes. You will usually receive ALIMTA once every 21 days (3 weeks).

What are the possible side effects of ALIMTA?

The most common side effects of ALIMTA when given alone are:

  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

The most common side effects of ALIMTA when given with cisplatin are:

  • Vomiting
  • Swelling or sores in your mouth or sore throat
  • Constipation
  • Low white blood cell counts (neutropenia)
  • Low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia)
  • Low red blood cell counts (anemia)

ALIMTA may cause fertility problems in males. This may affect your ability to father a child. It is not known if these effects are reversible. Talk to your healthcare provider if this is a concern for you.

Your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check for side effects during treatment with ALIMTA. Your healthcare provider may change your dose of ALIMTA, delay treatment, or stop treatment if you have certain side effects. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the side effects of ALIMTA. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

ALIMTA is available by prescription only.

For more information about all of the side effects of ALIMTA, please talk with your healthcare team, see the Patient Prescribing Information and full Prescribing Information, or call 1-800-545-5979.

PM_CON_ISI_All_16OCT2017