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  • Generic Name: (bortezomib)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 10/2014
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      VELCADE® (bortezomib) is a medicine used to treat multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer). VELCADE is also used to treat mantle cell lymphoma (a type of lymph node cancer) in people who have relapsed. VELCADE is administered as an intravenous (directly into your vein) or subcutaneous (under your skin) injection. VELCADE must not be administered intrathecally (into your spinal fluid).

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      VELCADE (bortezomib) works by stopping cancer cells from growing, dividing, and multiplying in the body.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication, and when should I begin to have results?


      Multiple Myeloma: In a clinical study, people who initially received VELCADE in combination with other medicines lived longer (56.4 months) as compared with those who did not receive VELCADE as part of their initial treatment (43.1 months).

      Mantle Cell Lymphoma: In a clinical study, 31% of people who have already received at least one previous treatment responded to treatment with VELCADE.


      Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions.

      How do I know it is working?

      Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly to check how well this medication is working.

      You will have regular blood tests to check your cell counts during your treatment with VELCADE. If the number of these cells is very low, your healthcare provider may change the dose and/or schedule of VELCADE.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      VELCADE (bortezomib) can cause serious side effects, including:

      Peripheral neuropathy. VELCADE can cause damage to the nerves, a condition called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel muscle weakness, tingling, burning, pain, and loss of feeling in your hands and feet, any of which can be severe. Tell your healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms. Your healthcare provider may change the dose and/or schedule of VELCADE or stop it altogether. If you have peripheral neuropathy before starting VELCADE, your healthcare provider could consider giving you VELCADE subcutaneously.

      Low blood pressure. VELCADE can cause a drop in blood pressure. Tell your healthcare provider if you have low blood pressure, feel dizzy, or feel as though you might faint. If you are taking drugs that lower blood pressure, your medications might need to be adjusted. If you are not drinking enough liquids, your healthcare provider may need to administer IV fluids.

      Heart problems. Treatment with VELCADE can cause or worsen heart rhythm problems and heart failure. Your healthcare provider may closely monitor you if you have, or are at risk for, heart disease. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience chest pressure or pain, palpitations, swelling of your ankles or feet, or shortness of breath.

      Lung problems. There have been reports of lung disorders in patients receiving VELCADE. Some of these events have been fatal. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience any cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, or difficulty breathing.

      Liver problems. If you have liver problems, it can be harder for your body to get rid of VELCADE. VELCADE has caused sudden liver failure in patients who were taking many medications or had other serious medical conditions. Symptoms of liver problems include a yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin (jaundice) and changes in liver enzymes measured in blood tests. Your healthcare provider will closely monitor you if you have liver disease.

      Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES). There have been reports of a rare, reversible condition involving the brain, called PRES, in patients treated with VELCADE. Patients with PRES can have seizures, high blood pressure, headaches, tiredness, confusion, blindness, or other vision problems. Treatment with VELCADE should be stopped in cases of PRES.

      Gastrointestinal problems. VELCADE treatment can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. If your symptoms are severe, your healthcare provider may recommend IV fluids and/or medications.

      Neutropenia (low levels of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell). VELCADE can cause low levels of white blood cells (infection-fighting cells). If your white blood cells become low, you can be at higher risk for infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop a fever or believe you have an infection.

      Thrombocytopenia (low levels of platelets). VELCADE can cause low levels of platelets (clot-forming cells). If platelets become very low, there is an increased risk of bleeding. Your healthcare provider may recommend a platelet transfusion.

      You will have regular blood tests to check your cell counts during your treatment with VELCADE. If the number of these cells is very low, your healthcare provider may change the dose and/or schedule of VELCADE.

      Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). TLS is a syndrome that causes a chemical imbalance in the blood that could lead to heart and/or kidney problems. TLS can occur with cancer treatments, and your healthcare provider will be monitoring your blood and urine for any signs of this syndrome. If you develop TLS, your healthcare provider will take appropriate steps to treat it.

      More than 1 in 5 patients (20%) receiving VELCADE have experienced the following side effects: nausea, diarrhea, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, peripheral neuropathy, fatigue, neuralgia (nerve pain), anemia, leukopenia (low levels of white blood cells), constipation, vomiting, lymphopenia (low levels of a certain type of white blood cells), rash, pyrexia (fever), and anorexia.

      If you develop a rash of any type while receiving VELCADE, tell your healthcare provider immediately.

      Please click here for full Prescribing Information, also available at VELCADE.com


    • Who should not take this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will not administer VELCADE (bortezomib) to you if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients (such as boron or mannitol).

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with VELCADE (bortezomib). Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have any heart problems, kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, a history of fainting, if you take medicines that lower your blood pressure, if you are dehydrated, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

      If you are on dialysis, your healthcare provider will administer VELCADE after the dialysis procedure.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your height and weight, and may adjust your dose as needed.

      If you have liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.


    • How should I take this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will administer VELCADE (bortezomib) to you.

      VELCADE is administered in cycles. A cycle of therapy usually includes the number of weeks for which you will receive the drug, and the week(s) you will rest and not receive the drug.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not miss any scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.

      Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while you are receiving VELCADE (bortezomib). Talk to your healthcare provider about effective birth control methods.

      Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how VELCADE affects you.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If VELCADE (bortezomib) is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. VELCADE may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications and/or herbal supplements you are taking.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      If received during pregnancy, VELCADE (bortezomib) may harm your unborn baby. Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while you are receiving VELCADE. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      VELCADE (bortezomib) should be given under special circumstances determined by your healthcare provider. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your healthcare provider.

      Please click here for full Prescribing Information, also available at VELCADE.com

    • How should I store this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will store this medication for you.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
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