Velcade : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?

Velcade (Bortezomib) is used to treat people with multiple myeloma (a type of cancer of the bone marrow). Velcade is also used to treat people with mantle cell lymphoma (a fast-growing cancer that begins in cells of the immune system). Velcade is in a class of medications called antineoplastic agents. It works by killing cancer cells.

How should this medicine be used?

Velcade (Bortezomib) comes as a solution (liquid) to inject into a vein or subcutaneously (under the skin). Velcade is given by a doctor or nurse in a doctor’s office or clinic. Your dosing schedule will depend on the condition you have, the other medications you are using, and how well your body responds to treatment.

Be sure to tell your doctor how you feel during your treatment. Your doctor may stop your treatment for a time or decrease your dose of Velcade if you experience side effects from the medicine.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using Velcade,

  • Tell your doctor and healthcare provider if you are allergic to Velcade, mannitol, any other medications, boron, or any of the ingredients in Velcade. Ask your healthcare provider for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, or nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: clarithromycin (Biaxin, in PrevPac); certain antifungals such as itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral); idelalisib (Zydelig); medicines to treat diabetes or high blood pressure; certain medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), such as indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), or saquinavir (Invirase); certain medications to treat seizures, such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol), phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton), or phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); nefazodone; ribociclib (Kisqali, Kisqali, in Femera); rifabutin (Mycobutin); or rifampicin (Rifadin, Rifamate, Rimactane, others). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects. Many other medications can also interact with Velcade, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
  • Tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John’s wort.
  • Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had heart disease and if you have or have ever had a herpes infection (cold sores, shingles, or genital sores); diabetes; Fainting; high cholesterol (fats in the blood); high or low blood pressure; peripheral neuropathy (numbness, pain, tingling, or burning sensation in the feet or hands) or weakness or loss of sensation or reflexes in a part of your body; or kidney or liver disease. Also tell your doctor if you smoke or drink large amounts of alcohol.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Velcade can harm the fetus. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy during your treatment with Velcade and for at least 7 months after your final dose. If you are a man with a female partner who could become pregnant, be sure to use birth control during your treatment with Velcade and for at least 4 months after your final dose. Ask your doctor if you have questions about the types of birth control that will work for you. If you or your partner become pregnant while using Velcade or for 7 months after your final dose, call your doctor immediately.
  • Do not breastfeed during your treatment with Velcade and for 2 months after your final dose.
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using Velcade.
  • You should know that Velcade may make you drowsy, dizzy or lightheaded, or cause you to pass out or blur your vision. Do not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery or tools until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • You should know that Velcade can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from lying down. This is more common in people who have passed out in the past, people who are dehydrated, and people taking medications that lower blood pressure. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.
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What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while using this medicine.

Drink plenty of fluids every day during your treatment with Velcade, especially if you are vomiting or have diarrhea.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss an appointment to receive a dose of Velcade, call your doctor right away.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Velcade may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms, or those in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, are severe or do not go away:

  • general weakness
  • tiredness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • stomach pain
  • headache
  • pain, redness, bruising, bleeding, or hardness at injection site
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • weakness in the arms or legs, changes in the sense of touch, or pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands, arms, legs, or feet
  • sudden shooting or stabbing pain, constant aching or burning pain, or muscle weakness
  • shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, headache, dizziness, pale skin, confusion, or tiredness
  • swelling of the feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hives, rash, itching
  • hoarseness, difficulty swallowing or breathing, or swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, or hands
  • fever, sore throat, chills, cough or other signs of infection
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • black and tarry stools, red blood in stools, bloody vomit, or vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds
  • slurred speech or inability to speak or understand speech, confusion, paralysis (loss of ability to move a part of the body), vision changes, or loss of vision, balance, coordination, memory or consciousness
  • fainting, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, or muscle cramps
  • chest pressure or pain, fast heartbeat, swelling of the ankles or feet, or shortness of breath
  • cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, or difficulty breathing
  • headache, confusion, seizures, tiredness, or vision loss or changes
  • pinpoint-sized purple dots under the skin, fever, tiredness, dizziness, shortness of breath, bruising, confusion, sleepiness, seizures, decreased urination, blood in the urine, or swelling in legs
  • fever, headache, chills, nausea, pain, itching or tingling followed by a rash in the same area with skin blisters that are itchy or painful
  • nausea, extreme tiredness, unusual bleeding or bruising, lack of energy, loss of appetite, pain in the upper right part of the stomach, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or flu-like symptoms
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Velcade may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Velcade will be stored in the medical office or clinic.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • fainting
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • unusual bruising or bleeding

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain laboratory tests to check your body’s response to Velcade.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Velcade®

Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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