Velcade

1 What is Velcade?

Brand: Velcade

Generic: Bortezomib

Bortezomid, also known and sold under the trade name of Velcade, is a product which is used in the treatment of certain types of cancer (e.g. multiple myelomas, and mantle cell lymphoma).

It is considered to work by blocking certain proteins, that way slowing the growth process of the cancer cells. It is available in the form of a powder for solution, for intravenous and subcutaneous use.

2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start Velcade, speak with your doctor about what you need to know. For this decision to be made, the beneficial effects must outweigh the potential risks. This is a decision that you and your doctor, together, will have to make. 

During the consultations, it is important to inform the doctor about:

Allergies – Inform the doctor about any allergic reactions to any kind of medications, prescribed and no prescribed. Also, inform the healthcare professional about any allergic reactions to any specific kind of food, dye, fabric and etc.

Pediatric – There are no studies done that would confirm the safety of this medication to be used in pediatric patients. This medication is not recommended to be used in pediatric patients. However, it could be used in cases where the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.

Geriatric – Proper studies done have confirmed that there are no age-connected risks when this medication has been used in geriatric patients. However, because of the increased risk of kidney and heart problems, the treatment with this medication requires extra caution.

Pregnancy – Inform the doctor if you are currently pregnant or have any plans about pregnancy in the near future. This is important because proper studies done have confirmed that there is a risk to the fetus when this medication is used during pregnancy. This medication is not recommended to be used during pregnancy. However, it could be used only in cases where the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.

Breastfeeding – Inform the doctor if you are currently breastfeeding. There are no studies done that would confirm the safety of this medication to be used in nursing mothers. It is unknown if it is extracted in the milk, or how would it affect the infant.

This medication is not recommended to be used in nursing mothers. However, it could be used only in cases where the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.

Drug interactions – Inform the doctor if you are currently using any other medications, prescribed or no prescribed, even vitamins and herbal tea. This is important because certain medications are not required to be used in a combination with others, due to the possibility that certain interactions could occur.

However, sometimes the doctor may decide to use a specific type of combination, including two or more medications if he or she considers that combination to prove as beneficial regarding your condition.

Other interactions – Certain medications are not recommended to be used in a combination with specific type of food, tobacco, and alcohol. Because of this, it is important to get informed if there is a need for you to follow a specific type of diet and discontinue your use of tobacco and/or alcohol during the treatment.

Other medical problems – Inform the doctor about your medical history, any other medical problems and conditions from the past or at the moment. Especially, inform the doctor if there are any of the following conditions present – allergy to boron, allergy to mannitol, congestive heart failure, dehydration, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, peripheral neuropathy, syncope, or herpes zoster.

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3 Proper Usage

For proper use of Velcade, follow the directions given by your doctor. This medication is available in the form of a powder for solution. It is applied subcutaneously or intravenously.

This medication is always applied by a healthcare professional at the hospital. The intravenous route means that this medication is applied using a needle, in a specific vein on the arm.

The subcutaneous route means that this medication is applied using a needle, under the skin. In the case of a subcutaneous route, it is important to keep track of the area on the skin where the previous injection has been applied, so that the healthcare professional would know not to apply the injection on the same area as the previous day.

In order to get the most beneficial effects, this medication must be applied regularly. The dose is individual for every patient, prescribed by the doctor and based on your condition and the prognosis of the treatment.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Velcade, there are some precautions you must take. Visit your doctor regularly, at your scheduled appointments, so that he or she would be able to track your condition and make any adjustments if needed.

These adjustments may refer to the dose – e.g. the doctor may decide to increase or decrease the dose, or to the treatment itself – the doctor may decide to discontinue the treatment if there are any serious side effects, which would worsen your condition, or if your condition does not improve.

Inform the doctor about any allergic reactions to any kind of medications, prescribed or no prescribed. This is important because this medication may contain inactive substances that could cause certain interactions to occur.

Inform the doctor if you are currently pregnant or have any plans about pregnancy in the near future. This is important because proper studies done have confirmed that there is a risk to the fetus when this medication is used during pregnancy.

This medication is not recommended to be used during pregnancy. At least two forms of proven birth control must be used during the treatment with this medication. Inform the doctor if you are currently breastfeeding. This medication is not recommended to be used within nursing mothers, due to the lack of studies that would confirm the safety of this medication to be used in nursing mothers.

This medication may cause dizziness and blurred vision to occur. Avoid driving and any other activities which require alertness and clear vision during the treatment. Do not get any immunizations/vaccinations during the treatment with this medication, unless it is recommended by the doctor.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Velcade. These side effects do not occur within all patients, also they could be mild or more serious.

However, it is essential to get informed about the potential side effects, so that you would be able to notice their presence and inform the doctor as soon as possible for further directions.

Common side effects – dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, tiredness, weakness, blurred vision, and pain/redness at the injection site. These are common side effects, which are not considered as serious side effects. However, if their presence worsens or persists, inform the doctor as soon as possible.

Serious side effects – easy bruising/bleeding, tingling/numbness/pain/burning feeling of the hands/feet, fainting, stomach pain, bloody/black stools, swelling/pain of the lower legs, fast/irregular heartbeat, severe headache, vision problems, mood changes, change in the amount of urine, and yellowing of the skin/eyes.

If you notice a presence of these side effects, report it to the doctor as soon as possible. A very serious allergic reaction to this medication is not common.

However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, inform the doctor as soon as possible – skin rash, itching/swelling of the face/tongue/hands/feet, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

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