WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Requirement for Premedication and Concomitant Medication to Reduce Toxicity
Prior to treatment with ALIMTA, initiate supplementation with oral folic acid and intramuscular vitamin B12 to reduce the severity of hematologic and gastrointestinal toxicity of ALIMTA [see Dosage and Administration ]. Do not substitute oral vitamin B12 for intramuscular vitamin B12. In clinical studies, the incidence of the following Grade 3-4 toxicities were higher in patients with mesothelioma who were never supplemented as compared to patients who were fully supplemented with folic acid and vitamin B12 prior to and throughout ALIMTA treatment: neutropenia [38% versus 23%], thrombocytopenia [9% versus 5%], febrile neutropenia [9% versus 0.6%], and infection with neutropenia [6% versus. 0].
Administer dexamethasone the day before, the day of, and the day after ALIMTA administration [see Dosage and Administration ].
Bone Marrow Suppression
ALIMTA can suppress bone marrow function, as manifested by neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and anemia (or pancytopenia) [see Adverse Reactions]; myelosuppression is usually the dose-limiting toxicity. Dose reductions for subsequent cycles are based on nadir ANC, platelet count, and maximum nonhematologic toxicity seen in the previous cycle [see Dosage and Administration ].
Decreased Renal Function
ALIMTA is primarily eliminated unchanged by renal excretion. No dosage adjustment is needed in patients with creatinine clearance ≥45 mL/min. Insufficient numbers of patients have been studied with creatinine clearance <45 mL/min to give a dose recommendation. Therefore, ALIMTA should not be administered to patients whose creatinine clearance is <45 mL/min [see Dosage and Administration].
One patient with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance 19 mL/min) who did not receive folic acid and vitamin B12 died of drug-related toxicity following administration of ALIMTA alone.
Use with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) with Mild to Moderate Renal Insufficiency
Caution should be used when administering NSAIDs concurrently with ALIMTA to patients with mild to moderate renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance from 45 to 79 mL/min) [see Drug Interactions ].
Required Laboratory Monitoring
Obtain a complete blood count and renal function tests at the beginning of each cycle and as needed. Do not initiate a cycle of treatment unless the ANC is ≥1500 cells/mm3, the platelet count is ≥100,000 cells/mm3, and creatinine clearance is ≥45 mL/min [see Dosage and Administration].
Pregnancy Category D
Based on its mechanism of action, ALIMTA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Pemetrexed administered intraperitoneally to mice during organogenesis was embryotoxic, fetotoxic and teratogenic in mice at greater than 1/833rd the recommended human dose. If ALIMTA is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant. Women should be advised to use effective contraceptive measures to prevent pregnancy during treatment with ALIMTA [see Use in Specific Populations ].
USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Teratogenic Effects – Pregnancy Category D [see Warnings and Precautions]
Based on its mechanism of action, ALIMTA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. There are no adequate and well controlled studies of ALIMTA in pregnant women. Pemetrexed was embryotoxic, fetotoxic, and teratogenic in mice. In mice, repeated intraperitoneal doses of pemetrexed when given during organogenesis caused fetal malformations (incomplete ossification of talus and skull bone; about 1/833rd the recommended intravenous human dose on a mg/m2 basis), and cleft palate (1/33rd the recommended intravenous human dose on a mg/m2 basis). Embryotoxicity was characterized by increased embryo-fetal deaths and reduced litter sizes. If ALIMTA is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to use effective contraceptive measures to prevent pregnancy during the treatment with ALIMTA.
It is not known whether ALIMTA or its metabolites are excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from ALIMTA, a decision should be made to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug for the mother.
Efficacy of ALIMTA in pediatric patients has not been demonstrated. ALIMTA was administered as an intravenous infusion over 10 minutes on Day 1 of a 21 day cycle to pediatric patients with recurrent solid tumors in a Phase 1 study (32 patients) and a Phase 2 study (72 patients). All patients received pretreatment with vitamin B12 and folic acid supplementation and dexamethasone. The dose escalation in the Phase 1 study determined the maximum tolerated dose was 1910 mg/m2 and this dose (or 60 mg/kg for patients <12 months old) was evaluated in the Phase 2 study of patients with relapsed or refractory osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma/peripheral PNET, rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, ependymoma, medulloblastoma/supratentorial PNET, or non-brainstem high grade glioma. No responses were observed among the 72 patients in this Phase 2 trial. The most common toxicities reported were hematological (leukopenia, neutropenia/granulocytopenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and lymphopenia), liver function abnormalities (increased ALT/AST), fatigue, and nausea.
The single dose pharmacokinetics of ALIMTA administered in doses ranging from 400 to 2480 mg/m2 were evaluated in the Phase 1 trial in 22 patients (13 males and 9 females) aged 4 to 18 years (average age 12 years). Pemetrexed exposure (AUC and Cmax) appeared to increase proportionally with dose. The average pemetrexed clearance (2.30 L/h/m2) and half-life (2.3 hours) in pediatric patients were comparable to values reported in adults.
ALIMTA is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Renal function monitoring is recommended with administration of ALIMTA. No dose reductions other than those recommended for all patients are necessary for patients 65 years of age or older [see Dosage and Administration ].
Of 3,946 patients (34.0% ≥65) studied across the five clinical trials [see Clinical Studies (14.1, 14.2, 14.3, and 14.4)], the effect of ALIMTA on survival was similar in patients <65 compared to ≥65 years of age. There were no differences in safety with the exception of the following Grade 3-4 adverse reactions, which were noted in at least one of the five trials to be greater in patients 65 years of age and older as compared to younger patients: anemia, fatigue, thrombocytopenia, hypertension, and neutropenia.
Patients with Hepatic Impairment
There was no effect of elevated AST, ALT, or total bilirubin on the pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed. However, no formal studies have been conducted to examine the pharmacokinetics of pemetrexed in patients with hepatic impairment [see Clinical Pharmacology ].
Patients with Renal Impairment
ALIMTA is known to be primarily excreted by the kidneys. Decreased renal function will result in reduced clearance and greater exposure (AUC) to ALIMTA compared with patients with normal renal function [see Dosage and Administration and Clinical Pharmacology]. Cisplatin coadministration with ALIMTA has not been studied in patients with moderate renal impairment.
Of 3,946 patients (Male 70.5%) studied across the five registration studies for ALIMTA indications [see Clinical Studies (14.1, 14.2, 14.3, and 14.4)], the effect of ALIMTA on survival was similar in female and male patients.
Of 3,946 patients (Caucasian 78.6%) studied across the five registration studies for ALIMTA indications [see Clinical Studies (14.1, 14.2, 14.3, and 14.4)], the effect of ALIMTA on survival was similar in the Caucasian and non-Caucasian patients.