lenalidomide (Revlimid)

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Pharmacy Author: Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

GENERIC NAME: lenalidomide

BRAND NAME: Revlimid

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Lenalidomide (Revlimid) is an oral anti-cancer medication. Lenalidomide is similar to thalidomide (Thalomid), an older cancer medicine that, although effective, was associated with serious side effects. The exact mechanism through which lenalidomide stops the growth of cancer cells is not understood. Lenalidomide stimulates or regulates the body's immune system to attack and kill cancer cells, reduces the formation of new blood vessels that supply nutrients to the cancer cells, and prevents or stops growth of the cancer. Laboratory studies have shown that lenalidomide inhibits cancer growth and causes programmed cell death in certain types of cancers, including multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma, and del (5q) myelodysplastic syndromes. Lenalidomide was approved by the FDA Dec. 27, 2005.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Lenalidomide is a prescription medication used to treat patients with the following conditions:

  • It is combined with dexamethasone to treat multiple myeloma (MM) in patients who have received at least one prior therapy.
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a condition that occurs when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow are damaged. Lenalidomide is for a specific type of MDS known as deletion 5Q MDS, where part of chromosome 5 is missing.
  • Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), a rare type of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma affecting white blood cells. It is used in patients whose cancer returns or worsens after treatment with two prior medicines, one of which was bortezomib (Velcade).
  • Lenalidomide may be used to treat patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who are participating in a controlled clinical trial.

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