We are extremely grateful that there are drugs available to kill myeloma cells, but when you experience odd side effects, it may be helpful to know which ones are caused by which drug. It may not be you but the meds talking! Make sure you understand the side effects of each drug so you can better manage your own care. Discuss these side effects with your healthcare team because your medications can be adjusted if the side effects are not tolerable.  

Dexamethasone Side Effects (as reported by myeloma patients)

  • High power and energy during drug use but big exhaustion/crash for 1-2 days post drug use
  • Sleeplessness / Insomnia - most patients have to take a sleep aid to get enough sleep at night
  • Overall Weight gain and weight gain in torso
  • Causes blood sugar regulation issues / increased sensitivity to sugar
  • Can cause diabetes over long periods of time
  • Cataracts
  • Irritability / short temper / anger / rage (some say "extreme rage")
  • Increased appetite
  • Swollen legs, feet, wrists or ankles / fluid retention
  • Body temperature regulation becomes suppressed
  • Migranes
  • Body temperature spikes at night
  • Night sweats
  • Strange but memorable dreams!
  • Weakness and muscle loss
  • "Moon face" or swollen face
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Pain relief
  • Great house cleaning ability 🙂
  • Obsessive behavior about cleanliness and order
  • Fast speech
  • Accelerated thinking
  • Slight nausea and depression
  • Bone and muscle loss
  • Brittle hair
  • Facial hair
  • Hot flashes
  • Psychosis if give in large doses

Revlimid side effects (lenalidomide)

  • REVLIMID may cause serious birth defects or death of an unborn baby. Do not get pregnant while taking REVLIMID.
  • Low white blood cells (neutrophenia) and low platelets (thrombocytopenia)
  • Blood clots (risk is higher for patients also taking dexamethasone or smokers)
  • Higher incidence of heart attacks and stroke
  • Risk of new cancers (for those who receive REVLIMID and melphalan)
  • Liver problems
  • Allergic reactions or skin reactions
  • Tumor lysis syndrom: changes to blood chemistry, high potassium, phosphorus, uric acid, and low calcium. This may lead to changes in kidney function, heartbeat, seizures, and sometimes death
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Itching, rash
  • Tiredness
  • Swelling of the limbs and skin
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Cough

Velcade side effects (bortezomib)

  • Fatigue
  • peripheral neuropathy (numbness or tingling  in hands and feet)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Lung disorders or problems
  • Liver disease or problems
  • Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES)
  • Nausea, diarrhea, constipation and vomiting (GI problems)
  • Low levels of neutrophils and leukocytes (types of white blood cells)
  • Low levels of platelets 
  • Tumor lysis syndrome
  • Low levels of red blood cells (anemia)
  • Painful, itchy rash usually located in an area on one side of the body (herpes zoster)
  • Fever
  • Decreased appetite (anorexia)

Ninlaro Side Effects (ixazomib)

  • Low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia)
  • Stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal) problems. (Diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting) 
  • Nerve problems. (Tingling, Numbness, Pain, A burning feeling in your feet or hands, Weakness in your arms or legs)
  • Swelling
  • Skin reactions
  • Liver problems
  • Back pain
  • Skin rash and pain (shingles) as a result of reactivation of the chicken pox virus (herpes zoster)
  • Lowered white blood cells called neutrophils (neutropenia) that may increase the risk of infection
  • Vision conditions including blurred vision, dry eye and pink eye (conjunctivitis)

Kyprolis Side Effects (carfilzomib)

  • Low red blood cell count
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Low platelets
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Swelling of the lower legs or hands
  • Infusion reactions

Empliciti Side Effects (elotuzumab)

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Numbness, weakness, tingling, or burning pain in your arms or legs
  • Sore throat or runny nose
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pneumonia

Darzalex Side Effects (daratumumab)

  • Infusion reactions: shortness of breath or trouble breathing, dizziness or lightheadedness (hypotension), cough, wheezing, throat tightness, runny or stuffy nose, headache, itching, nausea, vomiting, chills, fever
  • Masking of your blood type. DARZALEX® can affect the results of blood tests to match your blood type. These changes can last for up to 6 months after your final dose of DARZALEX®. Your healthcare provider will do blood tests to match your blood type before you start treatment with DARZALEX®Tell all of your healthcare providers that you are being treated with DARZALEX® before receiving blood transfusions.
  • Decreases in blood cell counts
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Muscle spasms
  • Back pain
  • Cold-like symptoms (upper respiratory infection)
  • Nerve damage causing tingling, numbness or pain
  • Swollen hands, ankles or feet

Zometa (zoledronic acid)

Common side effects include: 

  • Bone pain
  • Nausea
  • Feber
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Vomiting Constipation
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Osteonecrosis of the jaw (uncommon)