Lenalidomide (Generic Name)
Other Names: Revlimid
About this drug
This drug is used to treat cancer. It is given by mouth (orally).
Possible side effects (More Common)
- Bone marrow depression; this is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It may increase your risk for infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
- Changes in bowel movements; some patients experience diarrhea, while other patients experience constipation.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rash, itching
- Swelling (fluid retention) in the legs, ankles, or feet
- Tiredness, fatigue, weakness
- Joint and muscle pain
- Blurred vision
- Increased sweating
Possible side effects (Less Common)
- Blood clots; A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear red and warm, and/or cause pain. A blood clot in your lungs may cause shortness of breath, pain when breathing, and/or chest pain.
- Changes may occur in the way things taste.
Sexual Problems and Reproductive Concerns
- In men and women both, this drug may temporarily or permanently affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your therapy. In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations. In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are receiving this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period. Women may experience signs of menopause like vaginal dryness or itching.
- Speak with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
- Genetic counseling is available to you to discuss the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. In addition, a genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems in the fetus due to this medication if an exposure during pregnancy has occurred.
- Taking this medication may require you to participate in routine pregnancy tests.
Please note — this birth defect warning is directly from the manufacturer:
- Effects on an unborn child; this drug may have life-threatening effects on an unborn child. For this reason, your doctor will speak to female patients about using 2 separate effective methods of birth control for 4 weeks before starting the drug, while taking the drug, during dose interruptions, and for 4 weeks after stopping this drug. If you are exposed to this drug while pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. Male patients, including those who have had a vasectomy, must use a latex condom during any sexual contact with a pregnant
female or a female that can become pregnant while taking this drug and for 4 weeks after stopping this drug. Female partners of males taking this drug should call their health care provider right away if they get pregnant.
- Breastfeeding: Women are advised not to breastfeed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breastfeeding infant.
Treating side effects
- Ask your doctor or nurse about medication that is available to help prevent or lessen joint and muscle pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Do not put anything on your rash unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep
the area around the rash clean and dry.
- If you are constipated, ask your doctor or nurse for medications and diet suggestions that may help you move your bowels regularly. Do not use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories without checking with your doctor or nurse.
Food and drug interactions
- There are no known interactions of lenalidomide with food. This drug may interact with other medication. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medication and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor’s advice.
- Swallow the capsule whole with water.
- Do not break, chew, or open the capsule.
- This medication should be stored in its prescription bottle at room temperature.
- Patients should not donate blood during therapy and for 4 weeks after completion of therapy.
- Patients will need to register with a program called RevAssist before starting to take this medication. Discuss this with your doctor before starting medication.
When to call the doctor
Notify your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Temperature of 100.5 F (38.0 C) or above
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Pain, redness, or swelling of your arms or legs
- Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
- Vomiting more than 3 times in 1 day
- Severe headache
- Diarrhea of 5 or 6 stools in 1 day, or diarrhea with weakness
Notify your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Rash that is bothersome
- Swelling (fluid retention) in the legs, feet, or ankles
- No bowel movement for 3 days, or if you feel uncomfortable
- Joint or muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that is unrelieved by prescribed medications
- Extreme fatigue; tiredness or weakness that interfere with daily activities
Revised December 2011