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Lenalidomide is used in the treatment of multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer) and lepra reaction

How it works

Lenalidomide modulates the activity of body's immune system and helps indirectly attacking the cancer cells. It also stops the growth of blood vessels in cancer.

Common side effects

Nausea, Numbness, Pain in extremity, Abnormal liver function tests, Alterations in thyroid hormone levels, Anemia, Balance disorder (loss of balance), Blurred vision, Bone pain, Joint pain, Cardiac disorder, Cataract, Shortness of breath, Chest pain, Confusion, Constipation, Darkening of skin, Deafness, Increased blood pressure, Decreased blood pressure, Dehydration, Depression, Diabetes, Diarrhoea, Dizziness, Dry mouth, Dry skin, Difficulty in swallowing, Skin flakes, Skin peeling, Fainting, Flu, Fever, Generalized swelling, Bleeding gums, Altered heart rate, Heartburn, Decreased calcium level in blood, Increased sweating, Insomnia, Iron overload, Itching, Skin redness, Loss of appetite, Mood changes, Movement disorder, Muscle cramp, Muscle pain, Muscle weakness, Rash, Renal disorder, Ringing in ear, Skin cracking, Skin eruptions, Sore mouth, Stomach pain, Tingling sensation, Burning sensation, Toothache, Tremor, Urticaria, Vasculitis, Vomiting, Fatigue, Weight loss

Available Medicine

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Expert advice

  • You may be monitored with regular blood tests before and during the treatment as lenalidomide may cause a fall in the white blood cells and platelets, required to fight infection and blood clotting.
  • Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury and avoid contact with people who have colds or infections.
  • You should not donate blood, semen or serum during treatment and for 4 week after the end of treatment.
  • You may be at risk of developing acute myelogenous leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma tumor lysis syndrome, fatal liver problems, severe skin reactions and fatal heart problems during treatment with lenalidomide. You should discuss in advance the benefits and risks of taking lenalidomide.
  • Lenalidomide is not recommended for use in children and adolescents under 18 years.
  • You should use proper contraceptive methods at least 4 weeks before, during and until 4 weeks after stopping treatment. 
  • Woman of childbearing potential will be required to undergo pregnancy tests before, every 4 weeks and after the treatment.
  • You should inform your doctor or dentist that you take lenalidomide before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Do not drive or operate machines while taking lenalidomide as it may make you feel dizzy, tired, sleepy or have blurred vision.

Frequently asked questions


Q. What is lenalidomide/ What is lenalidomide used for / is lenalidomide a chemotherapy drug/ a cytotoxic?
Lenalidomide an immunomodulatory and an antiangiogenic agent andis used to treat multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes and mantle cell lymphoma in certain patients. It is a chemotherapy-like drug and has the same cytotoxic effects as chemotherapy drugs as in to kill myeloma cells but the mechanism of action is different

Q. How is lenalidomide administered?
Lenalidomide is administered orally as a capsule

Q. How does lenalidomide work?
Lenalidomide works by affecting the body's immune system and directly attacking the cancer cells

Q. Does lenalidomide cause hair loss?
Hair loss could be a side effect of using lenalidomide. Always consult your doctor before its use.

Content on this page was last updated on 03 January, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)