Treatment Name: Cisplatin + Gemcitabine
How does cisplatin + gemcitabine work?
Each of the medications in cisplatin + gemcitabine are designed to slow the growth of and kill lung cancer cells.
Goals of therapy:
Cisplatin + gemcitabine is given to shrink lung tumors and decrease symptoms of lung cancer. It can be given either after surgery to eliminate microscopic cells, or it can be given before surgery to shrink the size of the tumor and minimize the size of the surgery.
If there is no metastatic disease (cancer in lung only and not other parts of the body), cisplatin + gemcitabine is commonly given with the goal of cure.
If metastatic disease is present (cancer has spread to other areas of the body), cisplatin + gemcitabine is not commonly given with the goal of cure, but rather to shrink tumors and decrease symptoms from lung cancer.
- Cisplatin intravenous (I.V.) infusion over 1 hour on Day 1
- Gemcitabine I.V. infusion over 30 minutes on Days 1 and 8
Estimated total infusion time for this treatment:
- From four to five hours for each cycle. Typically, I.V. hydration is given both before and after cisplatin and I.V. magnesium can add up to two hours
- Infusion times are based upon clinical studies, but may vary depending on doctor preference or patient tolerability. Pre-medications and intravenous (I.V.) fluids, such as hydration, may add more time
Click here for common starting doses
Cisplatin + gemcitabine is usually given in an outpatient infusion center, allowing the person to go home afterwards. On occasion, cisplatin + gemcitabine may be given in the hospital if someone is too sick for an outpatient infusion center.
Cisplatin + gemcitabine is repeated every 21 days. This is known as one Cycle. Each cycle may be repeated up to four to six times, depending upon the stage of the disease. Duration of therapy may last up to five or six months, depending upon response, tolerability, and number of cycles prescribed.
In a multi-drug regimen, each medication has unique side effects. When these medicines are given together, drug-related side effects reported in clinical studies give the best estimate of what to expect. In clinical studies, the most commonly reported side effects with cisplatin + gemcitabine are shown here. Side effects sometimes have percentage ranges [example: 27 – 63% got neutropenia] because they differed between clinical studies:
How often is monitoring needed?
Labs (blood tests) may be checked before each treatment and periodically in between cycles. Labs often include: Complete Blood Count (CBC), Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), blood magnesium levels, blood potassium levels, plus any others your doctor may order.
How often is imaging needed?
Imaging may be checked before treatment, at the completion of treatment, or during treatment at your doctor’s discretion. Imaging may include: X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scans, or positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
How might blood test results/imaging affect treatment?
Depending upon the results, your doctor may advise to continue cisplatin + gemcitabine as planned, or delay or switch therapy.
- Cisplatin can possibly damage the kidneys. Be sure to maintain good hydration to lessen the risk of experiencing kidney damage
- Depending on the results of blood tests (labs) you may need extra I.V. infusions of magnesium or potassium. This can make your total infusion time for the day increase by 2 hours or more. It is best to start this regimen early in the day if extra infusions are common for you
- A pharmacist should ALWAYS review your medication list to ensure that drug interactions are prevented or managed appropriately
- Clinical trials may exist for lung cancer. Ask your doctor if any studies are currently enrolling in your area. If not, go to clinicaltrials.gov to search for other centers offering study medications.
Patient Assistance & Co-payment Coverage
Patients under the age of 65 years, or those with private insurance plans:
If you have insurance and are looking for patient assistance or copay assistance for Cisplatin + Gemcitabine, we have provided links that may help.
Visit our Patient Assistance page and click the links to various patient assistance programs for help paying for Cisplatin + Gemcitabine. Depending upon your income, they may be able to help cover the cost of:
For Branded medications (may be available for generic medications too), check with the manufacturer to determine if a co-pay card is offered and if it could reduce your monthly copay.
- If you are uninsured, check with the manufacturer to determine if you are eligible to receive medication at no cost.
Medicare and Medicaid patients (Patients 65 years or older):
The clinic providing treatment will likely pre-authorize medications and immune therapies such as Cisplatin + Gemcitabine and are the best source to help you understand drug cost.
- Ask to speak with a patient assistance technician or financial counselor at the clinic or hospital administering this therapy.
What is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness is having a positive outlook balanced with a realistic understanding of current life events. This requires both an awareness and acceptance of your emotions. It is with this knowledge that you can develop a plan to take the necessary actions to positively impact your life.
Emotional wellness uses an ongoing process to continually reflect on the stressors of life in a constructive manner to move forward and create happiness.
Because emotional wellness is deeply connected with physical, social, and spiritual wellness, pursuing it often becomes particularly difficult in times of major illness. Despite this difficulty, working toward emotional wellness has been connected to improved treatment outcomes and a higher likelihood of achieving goals of therapy.
Learn more about pursuing emotional wellness while receiving treatment with Cisplatin + Gemcitabine