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Bortezomib (Velcade)

How does this medicine work?

Bortezomib (bor tez' o mib) is a biological cancer medicine from a new group of drugs called proteasome inhibitors. It works to destroy cancer cells by blocking the breakdown of proteins within the cell.

How is the medicine given?

Bortezomib is given into a vein (IV) in the hospital or clinic.

Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?

There are some foods, drinks, and dietary supplements that can interfere with the action of Bortezomib. You should stop taking them at least one day before starting Bortezomib and not start them until at least 72 hours after the last dose. These include:

  • Vitamin products containing vitamin C and antioxidants
  • Foods with high vitamin C content, such as fruits and juices (citrus fruits and juices)
  • Green tea and any herbal products and any products containing flavanoids or other antioxidant compounds

Some medications can interfere with bortezomib. Let your provider know all the medications you are taking including over the counter medications and herbal products.

Lightheadedness may occur when getting up quickly from a lying position. To avoid this, get out of bed slowly and rest your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing.

What are the side effects?

Common

  • Nausea/ Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Low platelet count
  • Swelling of the arms and legs

Occasional

  • Pain, burning, numbness, or tingling of the hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fainting
  • Insomnia
  • Cough
  • Rash
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Pain (abdomen, back, bone, limb, head, hands, or feet)
  • Low hemoglobin
  • Low potassium, calcium or phosphorus levels

Rare

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Acute liver dysfunction
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Low blood pressure

When should I call the clinic?

Call the clinic if:

  • fever, bleeding, unusual bruising
  • cough, shortness of breath
  • pain, burning, numbness, tingling
  • seizure, loss of consciousness
  • confusion, hallucinations, memory loss
  • excessive thirst, decreased urination
  • signs of allergic reaction:
    • rash or hives
    • wheezing
    • trouble breathing - call 911

What else do I need to know?

Most neurologic effects (such as nerve pain, tingling, and muscle weakness) improve after stopping or decreasing the dosage of the medicine. A physical therapist may work with you and your child on an exercise program to prompt nerve recovery and regain strength.

You will be asked to have regular blood tests while receiving this medicine. This is to make sure your bone marrow, liver and kidneys are working properly.

Questions?

This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.


Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.

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