Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Amyloidosis: If you have amyloidosis (an abnormal build-up of protein in organs such as the liver, heart, spleen, kidneys), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Anemia: Bortezomib may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells, including red blood cells, in your blood.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly as usual. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, cuts that won't stop bleeding, or any other unusual bleeding.
Bleeding may also occur in the brain, causing a stroke. If you develop signs and symptoms of a stroke (e.g., sudden difficulty speaking, difficulty walking, sudden dizziness, sudden and severe headache, sudden numbness or inability to move arms or legs, sudden confusion, sudden vision problems in one or both eyes), get immediate medical attention.
If you have a bleeding disorder, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Blood Sugar: People who use bortezomib and are also taking oral medications to control high blood sugar are at risk of experiencing changes in their blood sugar control (low blood sugar or high blood sugar). Your doctor may need to monitor your blood sugar levels more closely and adjust the dose of your antidiabetic medication(s).
Dizziness/blurred vision: Bortezomib may cause cause dizziness, fainting, tiredness, or blurred vision. If you experience these side effects, do not drive or operate dangerous machinery. Even if you don't experience these side effects, drive and use machinery with caution.
Heart conditions: This medication has been linked with the development of congestive heart failure and reduced heart function. If you have a heart condition (e.g., heart failure, inflammation around the heart, abnormal heart rhythm), or are at risk of heart conditions (e.g., have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or are obese), discuss with your doctor whether any special monitoring is needed.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). If possible, avoid contact with people who have a contagious infection and tell your doctor if you begin to notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Kidney function: Multiple myeloma often causes increased levels of calcium in the blood and decreased kidney function, even kidney failure. If you have reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Bortezomib is broken down by the liver. Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
This medication may also cause a decrease in liver function. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unusually unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Low blood pressure: Bortezomib can cause low blood pressure, especially when standing from a sitting or lying position. If you have a history of fainting, are taking medications that can cause low blood pressure, or are dehydrated (not enough water in the body from diarrhea, vomiting, or not drinking enough fluids), discuss with your doctor whether any special monitoring is needed. If you experience lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting during treatment with this medication, contact your doctor.
Lungs: Very rarely, this medication can cause serious lung and breathing problems. If you experience any new or worsening cough or shortness of breath while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately. You doctor will order a chest X-ray before you start using this medication to use as a baseline should you develop breathing problems.
Nerve and muscle problems: Bortezomib can cause nerve and muscle problems. If you have a history of any numbness, pain, burning, or tingling in your hands or feet (neuropathy), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. If you develop symptoms of neuropathy while using bortezomib, contact your doctor.
Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome: Very rarely, this medication can cause a reversible brain problem called PRES (posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome). If you develop a seizure, headache, weakness, confusion, loss of vision, or other vision changes while using this medication, get immediate medical attention.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML): Bortezomib has been rarely associated with an increased risk of a rare brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which can lead to disability or death. Signs and symptoms of PML include progressive weakness on one side of the body; clumsiness of limbs; vision disturbances; changes in thinking, memory, and orientation; confusion; and personality changes. If you notice any of these symptoms, get immediate medical attention.
Shingles: Bortezomib has been linked to an increased number of flare-ups of shingles (herpes zoster reactivation). If you have had chickenpox or shingles in the past, this is a possible effect of the medication. Symptoms of shingles include patches of itching, painful skin which develop into a blistering rash after several days, and should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible.
Tumour Lysis Syndrome: Bortezomib, like many other cancer medications, causes many cancer cells to be suddenly killed when treatment is first started. This can overwhelm the body with waste products from the cells. As a result, the body may not be able to keep up with getting rid of all the waste. When this happens, you may experience nausea, shortness of breath, notice cloudy urine or joint pain. This is called tumour lysis syndrome. Your doctor may prescribe some medications to help your body get rid of the waste products. Make sure you understand how to use these medications and report any of these signs or symptoms to your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy: No studies have been conducted to determine the effect of bortezomib on an unborn baby if the medication is used during pregnancy. Women should avoid becoming pregnant while taking bortezomib. Men and women should use effective contraception during bortezomib treatment and for the 3 months following treatment. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if bortezomib passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Women should not breast-feed while taking bortezomib.
Children and adolescents: The safety and effectiveness of bortezomib have not been established for use by children and adolescents less than 18 years of age.