Gemzar® (There may be other brand names for this medication)
How is it Administered?
Your medication will be given by injection into a vein (intravenous or IV), usually in your arm, wrist, hand or chest.
Why am I Taking I Gemcitabine?
How Does it Work?
Cancers are diseases in which abnormal cells reproduce uncontrollably. Your chemo schedule is based upon:
- your cancer type and how fast the cancer cells reproduce
- the phase of the cell cycle when the chemo is most effective — the resting, growing, or reproduction phases
With these factors in mind, your doctors create a chemo schedule to give each medication when it will do the most damage to the cancer.
Gemcitabine is in a class of drugs known as antimetabolites; more specifically, it is a pyrimidine antagonist. Gemcitabine is biologically similar to substances normally found inside the cell. Once it gets into the cell, it interrupts the cell cycle and stops them from reproducing.
Many chemo medications identify and attack cancer cells because they reproduce quickly. Some cells in your body normally reproduce quickly and are more likely to be damaged/destroyed by chemo. These normal cells will eventually grow back and be healthy. During treatment, however, you may experience side effects. (See sections on side effects and how to manage them.)