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Does Vitamin C Interfere With Velcade Absorption? Patient Power Answers
Posted: Oct 18, 2015
Does Vitamin C Interfere With Velcade Absorption? Patient Power Answers image

From Patient Power

At a recent multiple myeloma town meeting, an audience member wanted to know if vitamin C interferes with the absorption of bortezomib (Velcade). Dr. Orlowski explains why patients should be cautious and provides recommendations for vitamin C consumption.

Does Vitamin C Block Absorption of Myeloma Treatment? from Patient Power on Vimeo.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Here is the transcript:

Jack Aiello:

Christine from Dallas writes, “I had a stem cell transplant last year when I was diagnosed. I’m currently on lenalidomide (Revlimid), Velcade (bortezomib), dex [dexamethasone]. I’ve read that vitamin C interferes with Velcade absorption and action. Is this true?” Dr. Orlowski?

Dr. Orlowski:     

Well, we have laboratory data that show that, if you combine vitamin C with bortezomib, they bind together, and the vitamin C inactivates bortezomib.

So we do recommend that patients not take high doses of vitamin C.  And there’s another chemical called EGCG in green tea, which can do the same.  So you shouldn’t be taking, again, high doses of vitamin C, and you shouldn’t be chugging gallons of green tea while you’re getting bortezomib. But probably, a regular multivitamin and a little orange juice are fine. And, frankly, we’re not sure that it has any impact in patients. We’ve never done the study.

As you can imagine, we’re certainly not going to do a trial where we put half of people on bortezomib without vitamin C and half of people on bortezomib with vitamin C where we’re worried that maybe one group would do worse. So we’ll never really have the answer. But it’s better to be on the safe side and limit it.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

About Patient Power

Patient Power programs feature  and

Produced in association with Patient Empowerment Network and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Patient Power® is a service of Patient Power, LLC, based in Seattle with team members around the world. Patient Power was founded by two health communications pioneers, Andrew and Esther Schorr. They previously founded HealthTalk.com, a leader in support for people with chronic illnesses and cancer. Patient Power® is devoted to helping you, the cancer patient or survivor and your family through knowledge, to get the best medicine and return to or maintain good health.

Andrew lived that. In 1996 through a routine blood test he was diagnosed with leukemia (CLL). By reaching out to other patients and connecting with doctors who specialize in his illness, he participated in a clinical trial, received "tomorrow's medicine today" and now, 19 years after diagnosis, remains in deep remission and takes no medicines.

Like all too many cancer patients, Andrew developed a second cancer, in 2011, myelofibrosis. But, again, by connecting with the most modern medicine he continues to live a full life. While Andrew's success won't be everyone's story, he and our entire team, are committed to helping each person we touch approach their illness in a way that gives them the best chance of good health: getting smart about their diagnosis, seeking out the best healthcare providers, getting second and even third opinions on what approach to take – including, if appropriate, participating in a clinical trial, and drawing on others for support.

The author Lizzy Smith

about the author
Lizzy Smith

Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.

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