In clinical trials evaluating the maximum tolerated dose of gemcitabine, prolongation of the infusion time beyond 60 minutes or more frequent than weekly dosing resulted in an increased incidence of clinically significant hypotension, severe flu-like symptoms, myelosuppression, and asthenia. The half-life of gemcitabine is influenced by the length of the infusion [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. Refer to the recommended gemcitabine dosage [see Dosage and Administration (2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4)].
Myelosuppression manifested by neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and anemia occurs with gemcitabine as a single agent and the risks are increased when gemcitabine is combined with other cytotoxic drugs. In clinical trials, Grade 3–4 neutropenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia occurred in 25%, 8%, and 5%, respectively of the 979 patients who received single agent gemcitabine. The frequencies of Grade 3–4 neutropenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia varied from 48% to 71%, 8% to 28%, and 5% to 55%, respectively, in patients receiving gemcitabine in combination with another drug [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].
Prior to each dose of gemcitabine, obtain a complete blood count (CBC) with a differential and a platelet count. Modify the dosage as recommended [see Dosage and Administration (2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4)].
Pulmonary toxicity, including interstitial pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary edema, and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), has been reported. In some cases, these pulmonary events can lead to fatal respiratory failure despite the discontinuation of therapy. The onset of pulmonary symptoms may occur up to 2 weeks after the last dose of gemcitabine [see Adverse Reactions (6.1, 6.2)].
Permanently discontinue gemcitabine in patients who develop unexplained dyspnea, with or without bronchospasm, or evidence of severe pulmonary toxicity.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), including fatalities from renal failure or the requirement for dialysis, can occur with gemcitabine. In clinical trials, HUS occurred in 0.25% of 2,429 patients. Most fatal cases of renal failure were due to HUS [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)]. Serious cases of thrombotic microangiopathy other than HUS have been reported with gemcitabine [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].
Assess renal function prior to initiation of gemcitabine and periodically during treatment. Consider the diagnosis of HUS in patients who develop anemia with evidence of microangiopathic hemolysis; increased bilirubin or LDH; reticulocytosis; severe thrombocytopenia; or renal failure (increased serum creatinine or BUN). Permanently discontinue gemcitabine in patients with HUS or severe renal impairment. Renal failure may not be reversible even with the discontinuation of therapy.
Drug-induced liver injury, including liver failure and death, has been reported in patients receiving gemcitabine alone or with other potentially hepatotoxic drugs [see Adverse Reactions (6.1, 6.2)]. Administration of gemcitabine in patients with concurrent liver metastases or a pre-existing medical history of hepatitis, alcoholism, or liver cirrhosis can lead to exacerbation of the underlying hepatic insufficiency. Assess hepatic function prior to initiation of gemcitabine and periodically during treatment. Permanently discontinue gemcitabine in patients who develop severe hepatic toxicity.
Based on animal data and its mechanism of action, gemcitabine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Gemcitabine was teratogenic, embryotoxic, and fetotoxic in mice and rabbits.
Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with gemcitabine and for 6 months after the final dose. Advise male patients with female partners of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with gemcitabine and for 3 months following the final dose [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1, 8.3)].
Gemcitabine is not recommended for use in combination with radiation therapy.
Concurrent (given together or ≤7 days apart)
Life-threatening mucositis, especially esophagitis and pneumonitis occurred in a trial in which gemcitabine was administered at a dose of 1,000 mg/m2 to patients with non-small cell lung cancer for up to 6 consecutive weeks concurrently with thoracic radiation.
Non-concurrent (given >7 days apart)
Excessive toxicity has not been observed when gemcitabine is administered more than 7 days before or after radiation. Radiation recall has been reported in patients who received gemcitabine after prior radiation.
Capillary leak syndrome (CLS) with severe consequences has been reported in patients receiving gemcitabine as a single agent or in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. Permanently discontinue gemcitabine if CLS develops during therapy.
Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) has been reported in patients receiving gemcitabine as a single agent or in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. PRES can present with headache, seizure, lethargy, hypertension, confusion, blindness, and other visual and neurologic disturbances. Confirm the diagnosis of PRES with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Permanently discontinue gemcitabine if PRES develops during therapy.
Chat online with Pfizer Medical Information regarding your inquiry on a Pfizer medicine.
*Contact Medical Information. 8AM-9PM ET Monday to Friday; excluding holidays.
Submit a medical question for Pfizer prescription products.
To report an adverse event related to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and you are
not part of a clinical trial* for this product, click the link below to submit your
*If you are involved in a clinical trial for this product, adverse
events should be reported to your coordinating study site.
If you cannot use the above website, or would like to report an adverse event related
to a different Pfizer product, please call Pfizer Safety at
You may also contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directly to report
adverse events or product quality concerns either online at