Bortezomib (Velcade)

The basics

Bortezomib (brand name- Velcade) is an FDA-approved treatment for multiple myeloma (a type of cancer of the bone marrow). It is also useful to treat people with mantle cell lymphoma (fast-growing cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system).

Bortezomib falls under antineoplastic agent class of medications. It works by killing cancer cells.

Let us walk you through the key findings you need to know about bortezomib.

How should I take bortezomib or Velcade?

Patient getting IV chemotherapy

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

Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment. Do not stop taking treatment without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.

What side effects can bortezomib cause?

Common side effects

Serious side effects

  • sudden shooting or stabbing pain, constant aching or burning pain, or muscle weakness
  • shortness of breath
  • fast heartbeat
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • difficult breathing
  • 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
  • paralysis (loss of ability to move a part of the body)
  • vision changes, or loss of vision, balance, coordination, memory or consciousness
  • fainting
  • chest pressure or pain
  • shortness of breath
  • seizures
  • vision loss or changes
  • pinpoint-sized purple dots under the skin
  • sleepiness
  • decreased urination,or blood in the urine

Bortezomib may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Use the free Ankr platform or Ankr app to track your symptoms.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using bortezomib or Velcade

  • tell your doctor about your allergies
  • tell your doctor about other intakes
  • tell your doctor if you have ever had a disease or symptom
  • 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. Bortezomib may harm the fetus. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy during your treatment with bortezomib.

While you are on bortezomib or Velcade

  • if you or your partner become pregnant while using bortezomib or for seven months after your final dose, call your doctor immediately.
  • do not breastfeed during your treatment with bortezomib and for two months after your final dose.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using bortezomib.
  • do not drive a car or operate machinery or dangerous tools until you know how this medication affects you.

If I forgot a dose? What should I do?

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

In case of an 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 has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

What should I safely store and dispose of bortezomib?

Bortezomib will be stored in the medical office or clinic.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication. Drink plenty of fluids every day during your treatment with bortezomib, especially if you vomit or have diarrhea.

Brand names

  • Velcade®

Last Revised – 06/09/2023, FDA updated-11/15/2019, SG

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DISCLAIMER: No part of this content constitutes medical advice, opinion, or should be used for medical decision making without consultation with a licenced medical practitioner and under a patient-provider relationship. All information on the website is provided without any claims of accuracy. For full terms and conditions, visit this link. Content curated by the Ankr team.

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