Pomalyst

Pomalyst treats a certain type of blood cancer. Take it on an empty stomach.

Pomalyst Overview

Reviewed: March 1, 2013
Updated: 

Pomalyst is a prescription medication used to treat people with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer that arises from cells of the bone marrow, whose cancer has progressed after being treated with other medicines. Pomalyst belongs to a group of drugs called immunomodulators that affect the immune system causing it to destroy cancer cells and inhibit their growth.

This medication comes in capsule form and is taken once daily on an empty stomach. Swallow Pomalyst capsules whole with water.

Common side effects of Pomalyst include a decrease in infection-fighting white blood cells, tiredness, weakness, and constipation.

Because Pomalyst can cause birth defects, Pomalyst is only available through a restricted distribution called the "Pomalyst REMS" program.

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Pomalyst Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Pomalyst

Pomalyst is a prescription medicine used to treat adult patients with multiple myeloma who:

  • have received at least two prior medicines to treat multiple myeloma, including bortezomib and lenalidomide, and
  • their disease has become worse during treatment or within 60 days of finishing the last treatment.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Pomalyst Drug Class

Pomalyst is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Pomalyst

Pomalyst may cause serious side effects, including:

  • see "Drug Precautions"
  • low white blood cells (neutropenia), low platelets (thrombocytopenia) and low red blood cells (anemia)

The most common side effects of Pomalyst include:

  • tiredness and weakness
  • constipation
  • shortness of breath
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • back pain
  • nausea

This is not a complete list of Pomalyst side effects.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Pomalyst Interactions

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take:

  • ketoconazole
  • rifampin

This is not a complete list of Pomalyst drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Pomalyst Precautions

Do not take Pomalyst if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or become pregnant during treatment with Pomalyst.

Males, including those who have had a vasectomy, must use a latex or synthetic condom during any sexual contact with a female, while taking Pomalyst, during any breaks (interruptions) in your treatment with Pomalyst, and for 4 weeks after stopping Pomalyst. Males should not donate sperm during treatment, and for 4 weeks after stopping Pomalyst. Notify your healthcare provider right away if your female partner becomes pregnant.

Pomalyst may cause serious side effects including:

  • Birth defects (deformed babies) or death of an unborn baby.
  • Blood clots in your veins and lungs. Symptoms include:
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain
    • arm or leg swelling

Pomalyst Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with some foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Pomalyst there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Pomalyst.

Inform MD

Before receiving Pomalyst, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions including if you:

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Pomalyst and Pregnancy

Women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant should not take Pomalyst.

Pomalyst is similar to the medicine thalidomide (Thalomid). Thalidomide can cause severe life-threatening birth defects. 
Pomalyst has not been tested in pregnant women. Pomalyst has harmed unborn animals in animal testing. 
 
Females must not get pregnant: 
  • for at least 4 weeks before starting Pomalyst 
  • while taking Pomalyst 
  • during any breaks (interruptions) in your treatment with Pomalyst 
  • for at least 4 weeks after stopping Pomalyst 
If you become pregnant while taking Pomalyst, stop taking it right away and call your healthcare provider. If your healthcare provider is not available, you can call 1-888-668-2528 for medical information. Healthcare providers and patients should report all cases of pregnancy to: 
FDA MedWatch at 1-800-332-1088, and Celgene Corporation at 1-888-423-5436

Pomalyst and Lactation

Pomalyst should not be used by women who are breastfeeding. It is not known if Pomalyst is excreted into human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.

Pomalyst Usage

Take Pomalyst exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the instructions of the Pomalyst REMS program.

  • Pomalyst capsules must be swallowed whole with water once daily. Do not break, chew, or open capsules.
  • Take Pomalyst at the same time each day.
  • Pomalyst must be taken without food, at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after a meal.
  • Handle Pomalyst capsules with care. Do not open capsules. If you touch a broken Pomalyst capsule, wash your hands, or the area of the body in contact with the capsule contents, with soap and water right away.
  • If you miss a dose of Pomalyst, take it as soon as you remember. If it is less than 12 hours to your next dose, just skip the missed dose. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.

Women who can become pregnant:

  • will have pregnancy tests weekly for 4 weeks, then every 4 weeks if your menstrual cycle is regular, or every 2 weeks if your menstrual cycle is irregular. If you miss your period or have unusual bleeding, you will need to have a pregnancy test and receive counseling.  

Pomalyst Dosage

The recommended starting dosage is 4 mg taken by mouth, once daily, on days 1 through 21, in 28-day cycles.

Pomalyst treatments may be temporarily interrupted if serious side effects occur, and restarted at a lower dose. Your healthcare provider will determine the best dose for you based on blood tests.

Pomalyst Overdose

If you take too much Pomalyst, call your healthcare provider right away, or seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

Store Pomalyst at room temperature, between 59° and 86°F.

Return unused medication to the manufacturer or your healthcare provider.

Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.

Pomalyst FDA Warning

WARNING: EMBRYO-FETAL TOXICITY and VENOUS THROMBOEMBOLISM

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity

  • Pomalyst is contraindicated in pregnancy. Pomalyst is a thalidomide analogue. Thalidomide is a known human teratogen that causes severe birth defects or embryo-fetal death. In females of reproductive potential, obtain 2 negative pregnancy tests before starting Pomalyst treatment.
  • Females of reproductive potential must use 2 forms of contraception or continuously abstain from heterosexual sex during and for 4 weeks after stopping Pomalyst treatment.

Pomalyst is only available through a restricted distribution program called Pomalyst REMS.

Venous Thromboembolism

  • Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE) occur in patients with multiple myeloma treated with Pomalyst. Prophylactic anti-thrombotic measures were employed in the clinical trial. Consider prophylactic measures after assessing an individual patient’s underlying risk factors.