(PEM i GA ti nib)
Pemigatinib is the generic name for the trade name drug Pemazyre®. In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name Pemazyre® when referring to the generic drug.
Drug Type: Pemigatinib is a targeted therapy and is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. It inhibits the fibroblast growth factor receptor (for more detail, see “How Pemigatinib Works” below).
What Pemigatinib Is Used For
For the treatment of unresectable, locally advanced, or metastatic cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) with a genetic alteration of the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR2).
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.
How Pemigatinib Is Given
- Pemigatinib is a tablet taken by mouth once a day with or without food.
- Do not chew or crush the tablets.
- Take pemigatinib exactly as prescribed.
- If you throw up after taking a dose of pemigatinib, do not take another dose; take the next dose at the normal time the following day.
- If a dose is missed, take the missed dose as soon as possible on the same day; return to the normal dosing schedule the following day.
The amount of pemigatinib that you will receive depends on many factors, including your general health or other health problems, the type of cancer or condition you have, and the type of side effects that you may have. Your doctor will determine your exact dosage and schedule.
Important things to remember about the side effects of pemigatinib:
- Most people will not experience all of the pemigatinib side effects listed.
- Pemigatinib side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset, duration, and severity.
- Most pemigatinib side effects will improve after therapy is complete.
- There are many options to minimize or prevent the side effects of pemigatinib.
- There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of pemigatinib.
The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking pemigatinib:
These are less common side effects (occurring in 10-29%) for patients receiving pemigatinib:
Not all side effects are listed above. Side effects that are very rare -- occurring in less than about 10 percent of patients -- are not listed here. But you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
When to Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4º F (38º C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection)
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, difficulty breathing, closing up of the throat, swelling of facial features, hives (possible allergic reaction).
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period)
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools
- Blood in the urine
- Pain or burning with urination
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
- Changes in eyesight or eye pain
- Rash, hives, or blistered and peeling skin
- Mood changes
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Signs of infection such as redness or swelling, pain or swallowing, coughing up mucous, or painful urination.
- Unable to eat or drink for 24 hours or have signs of dehydration: tiredness, thirst, dry mouth, dark and decreased amount of urine, or dizziness.
- Depressed (interfering with your ability to carry on your regular activities).
- Any skin or nail changes (rash, itching, severe dryness, blisters, nail infection, inflammation of the lips, etc.).
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
- Before starting pemigatinib treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.).
- Avoid taking St. John's wort while taking this medication.
- Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor’s approval while taking pemigatinib.
- Get eye exams every 2 months during the first 6 months of treatment, and every 3 months thereafter.
- Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. This drug must not be given to a pregnant woman or a woman who intends to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking pemigatinib, stop taking the medication immediately and call your doctor for further instructions.
- For both men and women: use contraceptives, and do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking pemigatinib. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended for up to 1 week after last the dose of pemigatinib)
- Do not breast feed while taking pemigatinib.
- Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
- You may be at risk of infection, so try to avoid crowds or people with colds, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- To help treat/prevent mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush, and rinse three times a day with 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 8 ounces of water.
- Use an electric razor and a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
- Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
- Follow recommended regimen of anti-diarrhea medication as prescribed by your health care professional.
- Eat foods that may help reduce diarrhea (see managing side effects - diarrhea).
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 30 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- Remain active as you are able. Gentle exercise is encouraged such as a daily walk.
- Have a routine eye exam performed every 2-3 months while taking this medication.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
Monitoring and Testing While Taking Pemigatinib
You will be checked regularly by your doctor while you are taking pemigatinib to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy. Periodic blood work will be obtained to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other organs (such as your eyes, kidneys, and liver) will also be ordered by your doctor.
How Pemigatinib Works
Cancer is a disease caused by changes, also known as mutations, in DNA that change the way cells grow and divide. Cancer cells can be destroyed using many different types of medications that work in very different ways. Examples of medications that destroy cancer cells include cytotoxic chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and antibody-drug conjugates.
Targeted therapy is about identifying other features of cancer cells. Scientists look for specific differences in the cancer cells and the normal cells. This information is used to create a targeted therapy to attack the cancer cells without damaging the normal cells, thus leading to fewer side effects. Many targeted therapies are small molecule drugs. These drugs are small enough to enter the cell and affect other molecules, such as proteins or DNA. Each type of targeted therapy works a little bit differently, but all interfere with the ability of the cancer cell to grow, divide, repair and/or communicate with other cells.
Pemigatinib is a targeted therapy that targets and binds to the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) found on the surface of the cells. Tumor cells may overexpress FGFR. By binding to these receptors, pemigatinib blocks an important pathway that promotes cell growth and division, thus inhibiting cancer cell growth.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.