What is Bortezomib?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Bortezomib is an antineoplastic medication approved for use in patients with relapsing cases of mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma. As with other chemotherapeutic agents, researchers are working with bortezomib to see if it is effective for the treatment of other kinds of cancers. Open clinical trials with this medication can be found in clinical trial databases, for people who are interested in knowing about experimental therapies and treatment options.

A nurse or doctor prepares this drug for intravenous injection in a clinical setting. It is usually infused in a chemotherapy clinic, allowing nurses to keep an eye on patients for immediate bad reactions. The drug is taken in cycles with a rest period between to allow the body to recover. The rest period is typically 10 days, although it may be extended if a doctor is concerned about a patient's health.

This medication is a proteasome inhibitor. It functions by interfering with the actions of enzymes involved in the breakdown of proteins. Patients on bortezomib should experience a slowdown in cancer growth and an eventual death of cancer cells. The immune system is usually compromised while the patient takes the medication, as production of blood cells declines. Patients taking bortezomib must be careful about exposure to infectious organisms to reduce their chances of developing dangerous infections.


Common bortezomib side effects include nausea, fatigue, weakness, and some tingling or numbness of the extremities. Patients who experience severe symptoms should report them to their doctors, especially in the case of fainting, extreme dizziness, or significant nerve pain or numbness. Patients on this medication can be at risk of nerve damage, as well as injuries to the liver and kidneys. While many patients feel unwell on chemotherapy, consistent severe side effects may be a sign of a bad reaction to the drug, especially if they endure through the rest period, when the patient should experience a recovery.

Known by the brand name VelcadeĀ®, bortezomib is usually available for infusion and a technician can order it if the clinic does not usually stock the medication. An oncologist supervises treatment for the patient, developing a plan for dosage and delivery of medications, radiation, and other treatment options. When discussing treatment, patients should go over their medical histories in detail. Any history of disease or drug reactions could be an issue and the doctor will need a full list of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs, the patient uses.



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