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Generic Name: bortezomib (bor TEZ oh mib)
Brand Name: Velcade
Physician reviewed bortezomib patient information - includes bortezomib description, dosage and directions.
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Drug Information:
Bortezomib interferes with the growth of some cancer cells and keeps them from spreading in your body. Bortezomib is used to treat multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. Bortezomib may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide. Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use. You should not be treated with bortezomib if you are allergic to bortezomib, mannitol, or boron. Learn more

Bortezomib Side Effects

Bortezomib Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to bortezomib: powder for solution

Along with its needed effects, bortezomib may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking bortezomib:

More common

  • Black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • blurred vision
  • body aches or pain
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • confusion
  • cough
  • cough producing mucus
  • decreased urination
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • dry mouth
  • ear congestion
  • fainting
  • fever
  • headache
  • increase in heart rate
  • loss of voice
  • lower back or side pain
  • nerve pain
  • painful blisters on the trunk of the body
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • rapid breathing
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • stuffy nose
  • sunken eyes
  • sweating
  • swollen glands
  • thirst
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  • unsteadiness or awkwardness
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • wrinkled skin

Less common

  • Dilated neck veins
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • increased sensitivity to touch
  • irregular breathing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
  • thickening of bronchial secretions
  • tingling in the hands and feet
  • troubled breathing
  • weight gain

Incidence not known

  • Agitation
  • back pain
  • blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
  • bloating
  • bruising
  • change in consciousness
  • coughing or vomiting blood
  • dark urine
  • deafness
  • deep or fast breathing with dizziness, numbness to feet, hands, and around the mouth
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • fast heartbeat
  • general tiredness and weakness
  • hallucinations
  • irritability
  • itching
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of consciousness
  • pain in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • persistent bleeding or oozing from puncture sites, mouth, or nose
  • pounding, slow heartbeat
  • rectal bleeding
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • restlessness
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • seizures
  • shaking
  • stiff neck
  • stomach pain and tenderness
  • trouble sleeping
  • upper right stomach pain
  • yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects of bortezomib may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Belching
  • bone pain
  • difficulty having a bowel movement
  • difficulty with moving
  • feeling unusually cold or shivering
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of taste
  • mental depression
  • muscle cramps
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • nausea
  • pain in the joints
  • pain in the limb
  • rash
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • swollen joints
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to bortezomib: injectable powder for injection, intravenous powder for injection


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 64%), diarrhea (up to 51%), constipation (up to 43%), decreased appetite (up to 43%), vomiting (up to 36%), dyspepsia (up to 13%)

Frequency not reported: Ascites, dysphagia, fecal impaction, hemorrhagic gastritis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hematemesis, paralytic ileus, large intestinal obstruction, paralytic intestinal obstruction, small intestinal obstruction, large intestinal perforation, stomatitis, melena, gastroenteritis, hemorrhagic duodenitis, peritonitis, oral mucosal petechiae, gastroesophageal reflux, acute pancreatitis

Grade 3 gastrointestinal events were reported to have occurred in 18% of patients and Grade 4 events were reported in 1%. Gastrointestinal events were considered to be serious in 11% of patients.


Very common (10% or more): Thrombocytopenia (34%), neutropenia (27%), anemia (23%), leukopenia (20%), lymphopenia (23%)

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Lymphadenopathy, febrile neutropenia, pancytopenia, hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia purpura

Frequency not reported: Disseminated intravascular coagulation, subdural hematoma, pancytopenia, hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia purpura

Thrombocytopenia was characterized by a dose related decrease in platelet count during the dosing period (days 1 through 11) with a return to the baseline platelet count during the rest period (days 12 through 21) of each treatment cycle. Thrombocytopenia was grade 3 or 4 for 24% and 5% of patients, respectively.

Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia have been reported to have occurred in 9% and 3% of treated patients, respectively.

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Peripheral neuropathy (39%), paresthesia and dysesthesia (23%), headache (22%), dizziness (17%), dysgeusia (13%), anxiety (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Peripheral sensory neuropathy, tremor

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cerebrovascular accident, convulsion, syncope, disturbance in attention, increased activity, ageusia, somnolence, migraine, jerky movements, postural dizziness, sciatica, post herpetic neuralgia, cognitive disorder, mononeuropathy, paresis, restless leg syndrome, speech disorder, intracranial hemorrhage, paraplegia, subarachnoid hemorrhage

Postmarketing reports: Autonomic neuropathy, encephalopathy

Bortezomib treatment causes a peripheral neuropathy that is predominantly sensory. However, cases of severe sensory and motor peripheral neuropathy have been reported. Patients with preexisting symptoms (numbness, pain or a burning feeling in the feet or hands) and/or signs of peripheral neuropathy may experience worsening peripheral neuropathy during treatment with bortezomib. Patients should be monitored for symptoms of neuropathy, such as a burning sensation, hyperesthesia, hypoesthesia, paresthesia, discomfort, neuropathic pain or weakness. Patients experiencing new or worsening peripheral neuropathy may require change in the dose and schedule of bortezomib.

Following dose adjustments, improvement in or resolution of peripheral neuropathy has been reported in 51% of patients with peripheral neuropathy greater than or equal to grade 2 in the relapsed multiple myeloma study. Improvement in or resolution of peripheral neuropathy has been reported in 73% of patients who discontinued due to grade 2 neuropathy or who had greater than or equal to grade 3 peripheral neuropathy in the phase 2 multiple myeloma studies. The long-term outcome of peripheral neuropathy has not been studied in mantle cell lymphoma.


Very common (10% or more): Arthralgia (26%), pain in limb (26%), bone pain (14%), myalgia (14%), muscle cramps (14%), back pain (13%)

Common (1% to 10%): Peripheral swelling, muscle weakness, musculoskeletal pain

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Joint stiffness, buttock pain, joint swelling, muscle spasms, muscle twitching, sensation of heaviness, muscle stiffness, swelling, pain in jaw


Most reports of hypotension (including orthostatic hypotension) were grade 1 or 2 in severity. Grade 3 hypotension was reported to have occurred in 3% and Grade 4 hypotension was reported in less than 1% of patients.

Very common (10% or more): Hypotension (13%)

Frequency not reported: Aggravated atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, cardiac amyloidosis, cardiac arrest, congestive cardiac failure, hypertension, myocardial ischemia, myocardial infarction, pericardial effusion, pulmonary edema, angina pectoris, bradycardia, sinus arrest, complete atrioventricular block, pericarditis, Torsades de pointes, decreased left ventricular ejection fraction, ventricular tachycardia


Very common (10% or more): Dyspnea (22%), cough (20%), upper respiratory tract infection (18%), cough (17%), lower respiratory tract/lung infection (15%), nasopharyngitis (14%), pneumonia (12%)

Common (1% to 10%): Epistaxis, dyspnea on exertion, rhinorrhea, bronchitis, sinusitis

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Nasal congestion, wheezing, pleural effusion, hoarseness, chest wall pain, hypoxia, pulmonary congestion, rhinitis, asthma, hyperventilation, orthopnea, sinus pain, throat tightness, productive cough, respiratory alkalosis, respiratory arrest, tachypnea, pneumococcal, bronchopneumonia, pleural infection, pulmonary edema

Frequency not reported: Acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute diffuse infiltrative pulmonary disease, atelectasis, exacerbated chronic obstructive airways disease, hemoptysis, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary alveolar hemorrhage


Very common (10% or more): Rash (18%), herpes zoster (12%)

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Erythematous plaques or nodules on the trunk, generalized morbilliform erythema with ulcerations and fever, cutaneous vasculitis, histiocytoid Sweet Syndrome

Frequency not reported: Toxic epidermal necrolysis, leukocytoclastic vasculitis, pruritus, urticaria, facial edema


Very common (10% or more): Asthenic conditions (fatigue, malaise, and weakness) (65%), pyrexia (36%), headache (28%), insomnia (27%), dizziness (excluding vertigo) (21%), dehydration (18%), anxiety (14%), fatigue (15%), dysgeusia (13%), rigors (12%)

Common (1% to 10%): Pyrexia

Frequency not reported: Impaired hearing, aspergillosis, bacteremia, herpes viral infection, listeriosis, septic shock, toxoplasmosis, oral candidiasis, tumor lysis syndrome, vertigo


Very common (10% or more): Blurred vision (11%)

Common (1% to 10%): Eye pain

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dry eye, conjunctivitis, eye discharge, abnormal vision, eye hemorrhage, photophobia, eye irritation, increased lacrimation, conjunctival hyperemia, blepharitis, eye swelling

Rare (less than 0.1%): Ophthalmic herpes

Frequency not reported: Conjunctival infection, irritation, diplopia

Postmarketing reports: Optic neuropathy, blindness


Very rare (less than 0.01%): Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Frequency not reported: Anaphylactic reaction, drug hypersensitivity, immune complex mediated hypersensitivity


Rare (less than 0.1%): Acute liver failure (in patients receiving multiple concomitant medications and with serious underlying medical conditions)

Frequency not reported: Hyperbilirubinemia, cholestasis, hepatic hemorrhage, hepatitis, portal vein thrombosis, asymptomatic increases in liver enzymes


Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (34 to 43%), dehydration (18%)

Common (1% to 10%): Hyper- or hypocalcemia, hypokalemia, decreased weight, increased blood lactate dehydrogenase

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypoglycemia, hyperkalemia, hyperuricemia, hyper or hyponatremia, hypomagnesemia, hypophosphatemia, decreased blood bicarbonate levels, increased blood alkaline phosphatase, urea, blood amylase, and C-reactive protein, increased appetite and weight, cachexia, vitamin B12 deficiency, tumor lysis syndrome


Very common (10% or more): Peripheral neuropathies (50%), insomnia (18 to 27%), neuralgia (23%), anxiety (14%)

Common (1% to 10%): Agitation, confusion, depression

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Delirium, restlessness, mood swings, mental status changes, sleep disorder, irritability, hallucinations, abnormal dreams

Frequency not reported: Agitation, confusion, psychotic disorder, mental status change, suicidal ideation


Very common (10% or more): Acute and chronic renal impairment, dysuria

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Increased blood creatinine

Frequency not reported: Renal calculus, renal colic, hematuria, proteinuria, difficulty in micturition or micturition urgency, oliguria, bilateral hydronephrosis, bladder spasm, urinary tract infection, hemorrhagic cystitis, proliferative glomerular nephritis


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Injection site erythema, catheter related infection, catheter related complication, post procedural pain, post procedural hemorrhage, burns


Frequency not reported: Angioedema, laryngeal edema


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone (SIADH)


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Testicular pain, erectile dysfunction

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by BestRx Medical Team Last updated on 1/1/2020.

Source: Drugs.com Bortezomib