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Velcade

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/22/2017
Velcade Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Velcade

Generic Name: bortezomib (Pronunciation: bor TEZ oh mib)

What is bortezomib (Velcade)?

Bortezomib interferes with the growth of some cancer cells and keeps them from spreading in your body.

Bortezomib is used to treat multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma.

Bortezomib is sometimes given after other cancer medications have been tried without successful treatment.

Bortezomib may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of bortezomib (Velcade)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Bortezomib may cause a serious viral infection of the brain that can lead to disability or death. Call your doctor right away if you have any change in your mental state, decreased vision, or problems with speech or walking. These symptoms may start gradually and get worse quickly.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • new or worsening nerve problems such as numbness, burning, pain, weakness, or tingly feeling;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • dry cough and trouble breathing;
  • severe headache, confusion, and/or seizure (convulsions);
  • bloody or tarry stools, vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds;
  • severe constipation;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • red bumps, spreading skin rash, painful skin lesions on your arms, face, or neck;
  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
  • fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse, lower back pain, blood in your urine;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • muscle weakness, tightness, or contraction, overactive reflexes; or
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, upset stomach;
  • diarrhea, constipation, bloating;
  • headache, mild dizziness;
  • muscle pain, bone or joint pain;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • mild rash or itching; or
  • skin irritation where the medicine was injected.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the Velcade (bortezomib) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about bortezomib (Velcade)?

Do not use bortezomib if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

Bortezomib can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

Call your doctor right away if you have any change in your mental state, decreased vision, or problems with speech or walking. These symptoms may start gradually and get worse quickly.

Avoid becoming dehydrated if you have any vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, dry mouth, fainting, or hot and dry skin. Talk with your doctor about how best to keep yourself hydrated.

This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.

Velcade Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving bortezomib (Velcade)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to bortezomib, mannitol, or boron.

To make sure bortezomib is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • diabetes;
  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease, or if you are on dialysis;
  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder;
  • a low level of platelets or white or red blood cells;
  • heart disease, congestive heart failure;
  • herpes or a history of shingles;
  • high or low blood pressure; or
  • nerve problems such as numbness, burning, pain, or tingly feeling.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use bortezomib if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether bortezomib passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using bortezomib.

How is bortezomib given (Velcade)?

Bortezomib is injected into a vein through an IV.

You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. A doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Bortezomib is usually injected 2 times a week for 2 weeks, followed by 10 days without an injection. Bortezomib may also be given once a week for 4 weeks followed by 13 days without an injection. Follow your doctor's instructions about your individual dosing schedule.

Bortezomib can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

Velcade Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose (Velcade)?

Call your doctor for instructions if you will miss an appointment for your bortezomib injection.

What happens if I overdose (Velcade)?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while receiving bortezomib (Velcade)?

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.

Avoid becoming dehydrated if you have any vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, dry mouth, fainting, or hot and dry skin. Talk with your doctor about how best to keep yourself hydrated.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

What other drugs will affect bortezomib (Velcade)?

Many drugs can interact with bortezomib. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your medications and any you start or stop using during treatment with bortezomib, especially:

  • dexamethasone;
  • rifabutin, rifampin, rifapentine;
  • St. John's wort;
  • an antibiotic--clarithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin;
  • an antifungal medication--clotrimazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole;
  • an antidepressant--nefazodone, paroxetine, sertraline;
  • a barbiturate--amobarbital, butabarbital, mephobarbital, secobarbital, phenobarbital;
  • diabetes medicine you take by mouth (your dose may need to be adjusted when your bortezomib treatment starts);
  • HIV/AIDS medicine--atazanavir, delavirdine, efavirenz, etravirine, indinavir, nelfinavir, nevirapine, saquinavir, ritonavir;
  • medicines to treat narcolepsy--armodafinil, modafinil; or
  • seizure medicine--carbamazepine, felbamate, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, primidone.

This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with bortezomib. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about bortezomib.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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