Lenalidomide is used to treat various types of cancers. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. It is also used to treat anemia in patients with certain blood/bone marrow disorders (myelodysplastic syndromes-MDS). Lenalidomide may lessen the need for blood transfusions.
Lenalidomide is not recommended for the treatment of a certain type of cancer (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) because of the increased risk of serious heart-related side effects and death. If you have this type of cancer, talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication.
How to use Lenalidomide Capsule
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking lenalidomide and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. Swallow this medication whole with water. For treatment of certain conditions, you may be instructed to take this medication in cycles (once daily for 21 days, then stopping the medication for 7 days). The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and lab test results. Be sure to follow your doctor's directions carefully.
Do not open, chew, or break the capsules, or handle them any more than needed. If any of the powder from the capsule gets on your skin, wash the area with soap and water.
Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from broken capsules. All people should wash their hands thoroughly after handling this drug.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same time each day.
Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.
Lenalidomide Side Effects
See also Warning section.
Diarrhea, stomach/abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, dizziness, dry skin, dry mouth, or trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as depression), increased thirst/urination, shaking (tremor), numbness/tingling of arms/legs, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, symptoms of heart failure (such as shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain).
Some people treated with this medication may rarely get other cancers. Consult your doctor for more details.
Lenalidomide sometimes causes side effects due to the rapid destruction of cancer cells (tumor lysis syndrome). To lower your risk, your doctor may add a medication and tell you to drink plenty of fluids. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: low back/side pain (flank pain), signs of kidney problems (such as painful urination, pink/bloody urine, change in the amount of urine), muscle spasms/weakness.
People taking lenalidomide may have worsening of their symptoms (tumor flare reaction). If you have tender/swollen lymph nodes, fever, pain, or rash, contact your doctor right away.
This drug helps many people live longer. However, some people who have used lenalidomide have died sooner than expected, especially if they had high white blood cell or tumor cell counts. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.
Lenalidomide may rarely cause serious (possibly fatal) liver disease. Get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of liver damage, such as: nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, loss of appetite, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine.
Lenalidomide can commonly cause a rash that is usually not serious. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a rare rash that could be a sign of a severe reaction. Get medical help right away if you develop any rash.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
See also Warning section.
Before taking lenalidomide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to thalidomide; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as lactose), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease (such as hepatitis B), thyroid disease, chicken pox and shingles (herpes zoster infection), organ transplant.
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Lenalidomide can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Do not donate blood or sperm while using lenalidomide and for 4 weeks after stopping this drug.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug.
Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from broken capsules.
Lenalidomide must not be used during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, stop taking lenalidomide and tell your doctor right away. If you are male and have had unprotected sex with a woman who is or can become pregnant, or if you think your sexual partner may be pregnant, tell both of your doctors right away.
It is unknown if lenalidomide passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.
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