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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Lenalidomide (Revlimid®)


Brand Name: Revlimid®

Lenalidomide is used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome and multiple myeloma.

Lenalidomide belongs to a class of drugs known as immunomodulatory agents. It works by helping the bone marrow produce normal, healthy blood cells and by killing abnormal blood cells inside the bone marrow.

This medication comes as a capsule that is taken by mouth, and should be swallowed whole. It should not be broken, chewed, or opened. When the treatment is for myelodysplastic syndrome, lenalidomide is usually taken with water once daily. When being used to treat multiple myeloma, it is usually taken with water once daily for 21 days, followed by a 7-day break. This 28-day treatment cycle is then repeated. Your doctor will recommend the exact duration for which this medication should be taken. Sometimes, treatment may be paused if any severe side effects occur. Be sure to communicate any symptoms to your doctor.

Lenalidomide side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between lenalidomide and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had a liver tumor, liver or kidney disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. Lenalidomide should not be taken during breastfeeding.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Changes in the senses of taste and touch
  • Burning, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Blurry vision
  • Depression
  • Swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Joint, muscle, or back pain
  • Painful urination

Some of lenalidomide’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Rash
  • Muscle cramps

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of lenalidomide with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Lenalidomide for cancer treatment

Lenalidomide is approved by the FDA for the following cancer treatments:

  • As a single agent for the treatment of patients with transfusion-dependent anemia caused by low- or intermediate-1–risk myelodysplastic syndromes that have a genetic abnormality known as “deletion 5q”
  • In combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of multiple myeloma in patients who have already received at least one previous therapy

At CTCA, our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.