Bortezomib is used for multiple myeloma. It is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells help you fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs. Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications. Signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma can vary and, early in the disease, there may be none. When signs and symptoms do occur, they can include:
- Bone pain, especially in your spine or chest
- Loss of appetite
- Mental fogginess or confusion
- Frequent infections
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss
- Weakness or numbness in your legs
This type of condition begins with one abnormal plasma cell in your bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft and blood-producing tissue that fills in the center of most of your bones. The abnormal cell multiplies rapidly.
Because cancer cells don’t mature and then die as normal cells do, they accumulate. Then, eventually overwhelming the production of healthy cells. In the bone marrow, myeloma cells crowd out healthy white blood cells and red blood cells, leading to fatigue and an inability to fight infections. The myeloma cells continue trying to produce antibodies, as healthy plasma cells do, but the myeloma cells produce abnormal antibodies that the body can’t use. Instead, the abnormal antibodies-build-up in the body and cause problems such as damage to the kidneys. Cancer cells can also cause damage to the bones that increases the risk of broken bones. Factors that may increase your risk of multiple myeloma include:
Black race. Black people are about twice as likely to develop multiple myeloma as are white people.
Male sex. Men are more likely to develop the disease than are women.
Family history of multiple myeloma. If a brother, sister or parent has multiple myeloma, you have an increased risk of the disease.
Increasing age. Your risk of multiple myeloma increases as you age, with most people diagnosed in their mid-60s.
In some cases, your doctor may detect multiple myeloma accidentally when you undergo a blood test for some other condition. In other cases, your doctor may suspect multiple myeloma based on your signs and symptoms.
Bortezomib is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is a type of medicine called a proteasome inhibitor. Bortezomib helps slow or stop the growth of the cancer cells.
How does Bortezomib work?
In multiple myeloma, white blood cells called plasma cells multiply in an uncontrolled way. Proteasomes are enzymes that are involved in the normal function and growth of cells. Bortezomib inhibits the function of the proteasomes in the cancerous plasma cells. This affects the normal functioning and growth of these cells and results in the death of the cancer cells.
Cancer cells seem to be more sensitive to the effects of Bortezomib than normal healthy cells.
How to use Bortezomib?
This medication is given by injection into a vein or under the skin by a health care professional. If you are receiving this medication under the skin, make sure that the injection site is changed each time to lessen injury under the skin. The dosage is based on your body size, medical condition, laboratory tests, and response to treatment.
Before using this product, check it visually for any particles or discoloration. Do not use if it is discolored or cloudy. Clean the injection site as well with a rubbing alcohol before injecting.
To prevent dehydration, it is important to drink plenty of fluids while you are being treated with this drug. Consult your doctor if you have any questions.
What are the side effects of Bortezomib?
Common side effects:
- Loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
- Blurred vision
- Muscle pain
- Bone or joint pain
- sleep problems or insomnia
- Rash or itching
- Skin irritation at the injection site
Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects such as:
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Tingling, pain, numbness, burning feeling of the hands or feet
- Stomach pain
- Coffee-ground vomit
- Black stools
- Swelling or pain in the lower legs
- Trouble breathing
- Severe headache
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Mental/mood changes rarely or thoughts of suicide
- Changes in the amount of urine
- Swelling of the hands/ankles/feet
- Yellowing skin or eyes
- Vision problems
- Dark urine
Warnings and Precautions
- This medicine usually causes dizziness or blurred vision. If affected you should be careful if you are going to do any potentially hazardous activities such as driving or operating machinary.
- This medicine can occasionally cause your blood pressure to drop when you move from a lying down or sitting position to sitting or standing. This may make you feel dizzy or unsteady and could make some people faint. To avoid this try getting up slowly. If you do feel dizzy, sit or lie down until the symptoms pass.
- Do not have any immunizations or vaccinations while having this treatment.
- Tell your doctor if you ever had an allergic reaction to this drug. Tell as well if you have any allergies. This drug may have ingredients that causes an allergic reaction.
- Inform your doctor if you have any medical history and if you are taking any medications including herbal supplements or vitamins.
- Use this with caution in people with decreased liver or kidney function, with decreased numbers of blood cells, with any disease of the nerves, with low blood pressure, or with a history of fainting.
- This medication is not to be used in people with severe lung or heart problems or in children and adolescents under 18 years of age. It is not recommended for these age groups.
- Certain medicines should not be use during breastfeeding or pregnancy. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.