Pemetrexed (alimta) and supplements

Portal Forums Cancer Treatments / Symptom Management Conventional Chemotherapy Pemetrexed (alimta) and supplements

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April 13, 2015 at 4:37 pm  #1269198    

rebelina

My brother would like to take supplements with his pemextrexed maintenance, but is concerned about interferring with the chemo. His oncologist is sceptical about supplements full stop.

Here are the supplements we would like to take, starting 7 days after his infusion to allow the chemo to work:

Vitamin D3
Life Extension’s Super Bio-Curcumin
Life Extension’s Advanced Bio-Curcumin with Ginger & Tumerones
Astragalus extract
Melatonin
Jarrows BroccoMax Sulforaphane Glucosinolate
Chagga/Reishi/Turkey Tail mushroom extract
Quercertin(?)

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database says to be cautious with the following and Altima:

Alpha Liopic Acid
Coenzyme Q10
Glucosamine Hydrochloride
Clucosamine Sulfate
Glutamine
N-Acetyl Glucosamine
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin E

It flags up that these are all antioxidants, and that “there is some concern that antioxidants might decrease the effectiveness… but it is too soon to know if this interaction occurs”. But most supplements appear to have some degree of antioxidant action.

Is it safe or not?

– Rebecca

*****
My brother, diagnosed 16 December 2014, stage IV lung adenocarcinoma.
Mets to brain and chest lymph nodes. EGFR and ALK negative.
First line chemo: cisplatin/pemetrexed, 4 cycles.
Scans showed significant shrinkage, including brain mets, then stable.
Maintenance pemetrexed started 10/04/14.

April 14, 2015 at 8:38 am  #1269200    
JimC Forum Moderator
JimC Forum Moderator

Hi Rebecca,

Welcome to GRACE. Congratulations on the shrinkage and stability!

The problem with supplements is that there is very little (if any) clinical trial evidence to determine whether they interfere with any chemotherapy regimen. On the basis of general principles however, caution is advised. For example, mushroom-based supplements can affect liver enzymes, so if those are rising during chemo holding the supplement is often advised.

GRACE faculty member and naturopathic physician Dr. Patrick Bufi provided a discussion of the issue of supplements and chemotherapy here.

Good luck with maintenance therapy!

JimC
Forum moderator


Jul 2008 Wife Liz (51/never smoker) Dx Stage IV NSCLC EGFR exon 19
4 cycles Carbo/alimta, 65% shrinkage
Tarceva maintenance
Mar 2010 progression, added Alimta, stable
Sep 2010 multiple brain mets, WBR
Oct 2010 large pericardial effusion, tamponade
Jan 2011 progression, start abraxane
Jun 2011-New liver, brain mets, add Tarceva
Oct 2011-Dx Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis; pulsed Tarceva
At rest Nov 4 2011
Since then: http://cancergrace.org/blog/jim-and-lisa

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