Some people may continue to take these types of drugs to help keep myeloma in remission. Doctors call this maintenance treatment. It is usually done in a clinical trial. Your doctor will explain if this is suitable for you. They will go over the possible benefits and risks.
If the myeloma comes back (relapses) other targeted drugs can be used.
Your doctor and nurse will talk to you about the different treatment options.
You may have bortezomib as a first treatment for myeloma or if myeloma comes back after other treatment. Bortezomib is usually given as an injection under the skin (subcutaneously). Sometimes it is given into a vein. It may be given as a treatment in preparation for an autologous stem cell transplant.
If you have bortezomib (Velcade®) and thalidomide along with the steroid dexamethasone, this combination is called VTD.
Targeted and immunotherapy drugs can cause different side effects. It is important to tell your cancer doctor or nurse about side effects. There are often ways they can be controlled or managed. If side effects are more serious, your doctor may need to reduce the dose or stop treatment for a while.
Both thalidomide and lenalidomide can cause birth defects in developing babies. Some people have to take part in a pregnancy prevention programme while taking these drugs. It is important not to get pregnant or make someone pregnant while taking these drugs. Your doctor or nurse will explain more about this.
Thalidomide and lenalidomide can also increase the risk of a blood clot developing. Your doctor may ask you to take drugs to thin your blood to reduce this risk.
Some other side effects of these drugs include: