Alimta Approved as Maintenance Therapy for Advanced Lung Cancer

To prevent disease progression

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MONDAY, July 6, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- The drug Alimta (pemetrexed) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent progression of certain types of advanced or metastatic (spreading) lung cancer, the agency said Monday.

The drug, which hinders the needed absorption by certain tumors of B-vitamin folate, is newly approved for people whose tumor has shrunk or whose cancer has stabilized after chemotherapy.

Alimta was first approved in 2004 to treat the asbestos-linked cancer mesothelioma and, later, as an initial therapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer, the FDA said in a news release.

Possible side effects may include blood cell damage, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, extremity numbness, and rash, the FDA said.

The drug is produced by Indianpolis-based Eli Lilly & Co.

More information

The FDA has more about this drug's history.


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