Adults who have certain bone marrow diseases (multiple myeloma or myelodysplastic syndrome) may receive a medicine called Revlimid. This medication is also approved to treat mantle cell lymphoma. It works by altering the action of the immune system, which helps prevent or delay the growth of abnormal cells. There are also unapproved ("off-label") uses for Revlimid, such as treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
What Is Revlimid Used For?Revlimid® (lenalidomide) is a prescription medication that belongs to a group of medications known as immunomodulators. It is approved to treat people who have certain bone marrow diseases, specifically multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndrome. In addition, it is used to treat mantle cell lymphoma.
Revlimid for Multiple MyelomaMultiple myeloma is cancer that begins in plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies to help the body fight germs and other harmful substances. Plasma cells collect in the bone marrow, the spongy tissue found in the middle part of some bones.
Multiple myeloma occurs when plasma cells becomes abnormal. The abnormal cells, called myeloma cells, collect in the bone marrow and divide again and again, making more and more abnormal cells. Eventually, the abnormal cells crowd out normal, healthy blood cells.
In some cases, multiple myeloma does not cause any symptoms. However, as the cancer cells grow, they may cause bone or back pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Bones that break easily
- Frequent infections
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Feeling extremely tired
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle weakness.
Eventually, the disease may cause damage to the bones, kidneys, or other organs.
(Click Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma for more information on possible symptoms of this condition.)
Revlimid is used in combination with dexamethasone to treat multiple myeloma in people who have already received at least one other treatment. The medication does not cure multiple myeloma, but may help delay the progression of the disease.