Before you begin taking 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 take this medication.
Bleeding: Lenalidomide may cause a reduced number of platelets in the blood, which can make it difficult to stop cuts from bleeding. If you notice any signs of bleeding, such as frequent nosebleeds, unexplained bruising, or black and tarry stools, notify your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will order routine blood tests to make sure potential problems are caught early.
Blood clots: Lenalidomide increases the risk of developing blood clots in the legs and lungs. If you experience sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, arm or leg pain, and swelling, contact your doctor immediately.
Blood donation: Do not give blood during and for 4 weeks after your treatment with lenalidomide. If a pregnant woman received your donated blood, her baby could be exposed to lenalidomide and might be born with birth defects.
Cardiovascular effects: This medication may have effects on the heart and circulatory (blood vessels) system. If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, and other diseases of the heart and blood system, 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.
Diabetes: Lenalidomide may cause an increase in blood sugar levels and glucose tolerance may change. People with diabetes may find it necessary to monitor their blood sugar more frequently while using this medication.
People with diabetes or those at risk for developing diabetes should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: This medication is not expected to make you drowsy and impair your ability to drive or use machinery. However, it may make some people feel weak. Do not drive or use machinery if you feel weak.
Infections: When lenalidomide decreases the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells), it increases the risk of infections. If you notice any signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness, contact your doctor immediately.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have kidney problems, 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: This medication has been reported to cause a decrease in liver function including fatal liver failure. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling 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. Your doctor may want to test your liver function regularly with blood tests while you are taking this medication.
Second cancers: A small number of patients with multiple myeloma have reported second cancers such as skin cancers or other invasive cancers. Talk to your health care provider if you have any concerns.
Tumour Lysis Syndrome: Lenalidomide, 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: This medication must not be used during pregnancy because of the potential for it to cause serious birth defects. Women who take lenalidomide must use 2 methods of birth control during treatment with lenalidomide and for at least 4 weeks after treatment has stopped.
Your doctor may ask you to do a pregnancy test before starting lenalidomide. If you become pregnant while taking lenalidomide, contact your doctor immediately.
Men who take lenalidomide must use a latex condom during sexual encounters with women who can become pregnant. They must continue to use a condom for at least 4 weeks after treatment has stopped.
Breast-feeding: The safety of taking lenalidomide while breast feeding has not been determined. It is not known if lenalidomide passes into breast milk. Because a baby may be seriously harmed if exposed to this medication, breast-feeding mothers should not use this medication.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: People over the age of 65 who take lenalidomide may be at increased risk of developing side effects associated with the heart and kidneys. Your doctor may want to monitor you more closely while you are taking this medication.