Velcade

(bortezomib)

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Treats mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

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Our bottom line

Velcade (bortezomib) is a first-choice treatment for multiple myeloma and an effective option for mantle cell lymphoma. However, it frequently causes burning, tingling, and numbness in the hands and feet.

Quick facts about Velcade
  • Drug class: cancer
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available

Upsides

  • Velcade (bortezomib) improved response and delayed cancer progression in multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma.
  • First-choice treatment for multiple myeloma, and effective treatment for mantle cell lymphoma.
  • Can administer Velcade (bortezomib) on your own at home, after the doctor shows you how.
  • Compared to some other chemotherapy treatments, Velcade (bortezomib) causes less nausea and vomiting.
  • Giving this medicine subcutaneously decreases side effects compared to intravenously.
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What to expect from Velcade, on one page

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Downsides

  • Can worsen heart, nerve, and liver conditions.
  • Usually need to take in combination with other cancer medicines.
  • Because of the risk of harm during pregnancy, you need to take use contraception during treatment and for 2 months after treatment ends.
  • People with diabetes will have to check their blood sugar more frequently while taking Velcade (bortezomib).
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What to expect from Velcade, on one page

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How it works

Velcade (bortezomib) is a proteasome inhibitor. It blocks proteasomes, which are protein complexes that are important in cancer cell function. 

Quick facts about Velcade
  • Drug class: cancer
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available

Used for

Dosage forms

  • Injection
Tried Velcade? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Velcade (bortezomib) for Mantle cell lymphoma

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  • First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
    Long term
  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
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Side effect rates for Velcade (bortezomib)

From 147 clinical trials of Velcade when taken for multiple myeloma
  • Burning or prickling sensation in limbs
    37%37%
  • Low platelets
    30%30%
  • Diarrhea
    28%28%
  • Nausea
    24%24%
  • Low white blood cells (neutrophils)
    23%23%
  • Neuropathic pain
    23%23%
  • Low red blood cells
    19%19%
  • Low white blood cells (leukocytes)
    18%18%
  • Vomiting
    13%13%
  • Fever
    12%12%
  • Weakness
    7%7%
  • Fatigue
    7%7%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Velcade.

Velcade (bortezomib)
Placebo

People taking Velcade felt side effect more

People taking Velcade felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Velcade (bortezomib)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Existing peripheral neuropathy (numbness, pain, or burning feeling in feet or hands)

    Velcade (bortezomib) causes tingling, numbness, pain, or burning sensation in your arms or legs. Be careful when moving around, as the numbness may make it harder to walk, feel your hands or feet, or increase your risk of falls. Talk to your doctor if you feel these symptoms. You may need to change your dose or schedule.

Common concerns from people taking Velcade (bortezomib)

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Interactions
  • Some drugs can interfere with how Velcade (bortezomib) works. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medicines, including over the counter and supplements.
Kidneys and liver
  • Can worsen heart, nerve, and liver conditions.
Pain
  • Velcade (bortezomib) causes tingling, numbness, pain, or burning sensation in your arms or legs. Be careful when moving around, as the numbness may make it harder to walk, feel your hands or feet, or increase your risk of falls. Talk to your doctor if you feel these symptoms. You may need to change your dose or schedule.