Pemetrexed (alimta) and supplements - 1269198

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Pemetrexed (alimta) and supplements - 1269198

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
Jarrows BroccoMax Sulforaphane Glucosinolate
Chagga/Reishi/Turkey Tail mushroom extract

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

Alpha Liopic Acid
Coenzyme Q10
Glucosamine Hydrochloride
Clucosamine Sulfate
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.

Hi Rebecca,

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!

Forum moderator

<p>I began visiting GRACE in July, 2008 when my wife Liz was diagnosed with lung cancer, and became a forum moderator in January, 2010. My beloved wife of 30 years passed away Nov. 4, 2011 after battling stage IV lung cancer for 3 years and 4 months</p>