Generic Name: Bortezomib
Product Name: Velcade
Velcade is classed as an antineoplastic, or cytotoxic, medicine. You may also hear of these being called chemotherapy medicines. Medication, such as Velcade, are used to kill cancer cells – while they are toxic to many cells, they particularly affect cancerous ones. Velcade is used to treat adults with multiple myeloma (a cancer of the bone marrow). It is prescribed for patients who have received one or more prior treatments and whose cancer is still progressing.
Your doctor may have prescribed Velcade for another reason. Be sure to ask your doctor if you have any questions regarding Velcade or why you have been prescribed Velcade.
Velcade blocks the action of a structure called the 26S proteasome. 26S proteasome is concerned with breaking down damaged proteins in the cell. By blocking this, damaged proteins accumulate in the cell, impairing cell growth and leading to cell death. Velcade has been found to be directly toxic to a variety of cancer cell types in experiments.
The recommended dose of Velcade is 1.3 mg/m2/dose administered as a 3-5 second bolus intravenous injection twice weekly for two weeks (days 1, 4, 8, and 11) followed by a 10-day rest period (days 12-21). This 3-week period is considered a treatment cycle. At least 72 hours should elapse between consecutive doses of Velcade.
Common side effects
As with any medication, there are a number of possible side-effects. The following table lists some common side effects, occurring in more than 5% (more than 1 in 20) of patients taking Velcade. It is important to note that in the vast majority of people, the benefits of Velcade far outweigh the disadvantages. The fact that these side effects have been reported does not mean you will suffer from all, or necessarily any, of these symptoms when taking Velcade.
|Gastrointestinal System Disorders|
|Central & Peripheral Nervous System Disorders|
|Blood and lymphatic system disorders|
|Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders|
|Respiratory System disorders|
|Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders|
Uncommon side effects
The following is a list of the more uncommon side effects of Velcade, occurring less than once in a hundred instances, but more often than once in a thousand.
- Infection (such as of the eye, lungs, or urinary tract)
- Immune system disorders such as allergic reaction
- Alterations in the balance of water and salts in the body
- Psychiatric disorders such as mood swings or anxiety
- Neurological problems like falls, sciatica and restless legs
- Cardiac disorders like an abnormal heart rhythm, chest pain, or breathing difficulties
- Vascular problems, including bleeding into the skin, brain or from other wounds
- Respiratory symptoms similar to that of coughs and colds
- Gastrointestinal problems like an irritable bowel, pancreatitis or abdominal pain
- Kidney problems including retained urine, blood in the urine or incontinence.
If you are at all worried about a side effect in this list, please feel comfortable discussing them with your doctor.
- Australian Medicines Handbook Pty Ltd. Australian Medicines Handbook 2005. Adelaide: AMH Pty Ltd; 2005
- Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd. Velcade Powder for injection Consumer Product Information 2006.
- MIMS Online [online]. 2003 [cited 2007 March 19]. Available from URL: http://www.mims.com.au
- Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd. Velcade Powder for injection PI, 2006.
For further information talk to your doctor.