To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.


Table of Contents



Generic NameBrand Name

How It Works

Gemcitabine is an intravenous (IV) medicine that is usually given in a dose based on body surface area. The type and extent of a cancer determines the exact dose and schedule of administering this drug.

It's usually given through a needle in a vein. Each dose takes about 30 minutes. Doses may be repeated weekly, depending on treatment needs.

Why It Is Used

Gemcitabine interferes with how cells divide, which stops the growth of the cancer cells. It is used to treat pancreatic and lung cancer. It may also be used to treat bladder, breast, ovarian, or cervical cancer or lymphoma.

How Well It Works

Gemcitabine is effective against many forms of cancer. But the type and extent of a cancer determines how effectively this medicine slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.

Side Effects

Possible serious side effects of gemcitabine include:

Less serious side effects are more common and may include:

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Gemcitabine should be administered only under the supervision of a medical oncologist.

You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after taking this medicine. Discuss fertility with your doctor before starting treatment.

Gemcitabine can cause birth defects. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant or to father a child while you are taking it.

Do not breast-feed while you are using gemcitabine.

Do not use this medicine if you have:

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) to help you understand this medication.


Other Works Consulted

Credits for Gemcitabine

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology
Last Revised March 5, 2012

Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.