Lenalidomide is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat a certain type of cancer of the white blood cell. It is used for those who are newly diagnosed or those who had received prior treatment.
This medicine is also used to treat a group of blood and bone marrow diseases for those who require regular blood transfusions due to a certain abnormality in bone marrow cells.
It is also used to treat certain types of cancer that affects a type of white blood cell known as mantle cell, follicular, and marginal zone lymphomas.
Lenalinomide reduces the size of the tumour by stopping cancer cells from growing.
Take Lenalidomide exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Swallow the capsule whole with a glass of water. Do not break, open or chew the capsule.
If the powder from a broken capsule accidentally comes in contact with your skin, rinse it immediately and thoroughly with soap and water.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of your treatment depending on your condition and response to the medication.
Lenalidomide must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
If you miss a dose at your scheduled time and less than 12 hours have passed, take the missed dose immediately and return to your normal dosing schedule.
If more than 12 hours have passed, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose to make up for a missed dose.
If you often forget to take your medicine, inform your doctor and pharmacist.
Do not take Lenalinomide if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately as it may cause harm to your unborn child.
It is important that you do not get pregnant while taking this medicine. You must use proven birth control methods for at least 4 weeks before Lenalidomide therapy, during, and at least 4 weeks after stopping the treatment. Birth control medicines containing hormones may not be effective. You may wish to discuss other reliable methods of birth control with your doctor.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with Lenalidomide.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- blood clot disorders or conditions that may increase the risks of blood clot e.g. previous heart attack, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels
- with or a history of infection
- high total amount of tumour in the body
- kidney disease
- liver disease
Men who are on Lenalidomide therapy must use condoms during and for at least 7 days after stopping the treatment. Men should not donate sperm while being treated with this medicine.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to an elderly.
Do not donate blood during and for at least 7 days after stopping the treatment.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests must be done before, during, and after treatment to check if this medicine is suited for you.
- You may need to have routine tests (e.g. complete blood count; kidney, liver or thyroid function tests) and an ECG monitoring (test used to record the electrical activity of the heart) while you are being treated with Lenalidomide. Your doctor will advise you on how often you will need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring for signs and symptoms of infection, blood clots, tumour formation, and skin reactions may also be needed.
Lenalidomide may cause dizziness, tiredness, blurred vision or somnolence (suddenly falling asleep during your daily activities such as eating and watching television). If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, ringing in the ears, nose bleeding, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain, weight loss, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain or cramps, joint pain, and skin dryness or itching.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swollen face, eyes, tongue or throat
- chest pain, shortness of breath
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, severe stomach pain, unusual tiredness, dark coloured urine
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
Lenalidomide may cause the level of your white blood cells and platelets to drop.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Inform your doctor if you have a fever, cough, sore throat, mouth ulcers, or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Inform your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- digoxin (medicine for heart disease)
- warfarin (blood-thinning medicine)
- cholesterol-lowering medicines e.g. simvastatin, atorvastatin
- birth control pills
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Lenalidomide.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
As this is a cancer medicine, always return any unused or expired capsules to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.