Based on animal data and its mechanism of action, gemcitabine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.1)]. There are no available data on the use of gemcitabine in pregnant women. In animal reproduction studies, gemcitabine was teratogenic, embryotoxic, and fetotoxic in mice and rabbits (see Data). Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus [see Use in Special Populations (8.3)].
In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriages in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2–4% and 15–20% respectively.
Gemcitabine is embryotoxic in mice. Daily dosing of gemcitabine to pregnant mice increased the incidence of fetal malformation (cleft palate, incomplete ossification) at doses of 1.5 mg/kg/day [approximately 0.005 times the 1,000 mg/m2 clinical dose based on body surface area (BSA)]. Gemcitabine was embryotoxic and fetotoxic in rabbits. Daily dosing of gemcitabine to pregnant rabbits resulted in fetotoxicity (decreased fetal viability, reduced litter sizes, and developmental delays) and increased the incidence of fetal malformations (fused pulmonary artery, absence of gall bladder) at doses of 0.1 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.002 times the 1,000 mg/m2 clinical dose based on BSA).
There is no information regarding the presence of gemcitabine or its metabolites in human milk, or their effects on the breastfed infant or on milk production. Due to the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed infants from gemcitabine, advise women not to breastfeed during treatment with gemcitabine and for at least one week following the last dose.
Verify pregnancy status in females of reproductive potential prior to initiating gemcitabine [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].
Gemcitabine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].
Because of the potential for genotoxicity, advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with gemcitabine and for 6 months after the final dose of gemcitabine.
Because of the potential for genotoxicity, advise males with female partners of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with gemcitabine and for 3 months after the final dose [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)].
Based on animal studies, gemcitabine may impair fertility in males of reproductive potential [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)]. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible.
The safety and effectiveness of gemcitabine have not been established in pediatric patients. The safety and pharmacokinetics of gemcitabine were evaluated in a trial in pediatric patients with refractory leukemia. The maximum tolerated dose was 10 mg/m2/min for 360 minutes weekly for three weeks followed by a one-week rest period. The safety and activity of gemcitabine were evaluated in a trial of pediatric patients with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (22 patients) and acute myelogenous leukemia (10 patients) at a dose of 10 mg/m2/min administered over 360 minutes weekly for three weeks followed by a one-week rest period. Patients with M1 or M2 bone marrow on Day 28 who did not experience unacceptable toxicity were eligible to receive a maximum of one additional four-week course. Toxicities observed included myelosuppression, febrile neutropenia, increased serum transaminases, nausea, and rash/desquamation. No meaningful clinical activity was observed in this trial.
In clinical studies which enrolled 979 patients with various malignancies who received single agent gemcitabine, no overall differences in safety were observed between patients aged 65 and older and younger patients, with the exception of a higher rate of Grade 3–4 thrombocytopenia in older patients as compared to younger patients.
In a randomized trial in women with ovarian cancer (Study 1), 175 women received gemcitabine with carboplatin, of which 29% were age 65 years or older. Similar effectiveness was observed between older and younger women. There was significantly higher Grade 3–4 neutropenia in women 65 years of age or older [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)].
Gemcitabine clearance is affected by age; however, there are no recommended dose adjustments based on patients' age [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Gemcitabine clearance is decreased in females [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. In single agent studies of gemcitabine, women, especially older women, were more likely not to proceed to a subsequent cycle and to experience Grade 3–4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia [see Dosage and Administration (2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4)].
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