Trade name: Pomalid
Pomalidomide is the generic name for the trade name chemotherapy drug
Pomalyst®. In some cases, health care professionals may use the
trade name Pomalyst® when referring to the generic drug
Drug type: Pomalidomide is classified as an "immunomodulatory
agent with antineoplastic activity," and an "anti-angiogenic
agent." (For more detail, see "How this drug works"
What Pomalidomide Is Used For:
For treatment of multiple myeloma who have
received at least two prior therapies including lenalidomide and
bortezomib and have demonstrated disease progression on or within 60
days of the last therapy.
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may
elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be
How Pomalidomide Is Given
- As a capsule by mouth. Capsules should be stored in a cool, dry
place and protected from light.
- Swallow capsules whole with water 1 time per day, at about the
- Do not break, chew or open the capsules. Do not open the
pomalidomide capsules or handle them any more than needed. If you
touch a broken capsule or the medicine in the capsule, wash your
hands right away with soap or water.
- Pomalidomide should be taken without food, at least 2 hours
before or 2 hours after a meal.
- If you miss a dose of pomalidomide, and it has been less than 12
hours since your regular time, take it as soon as you remember. If
it has been more than 12 hours, skip your next dose. Do not take 2
doses at the same time.
- In order to receive this drug, there are strict guidelines that
you must follow. You will be required to participate in a special
program called the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS)
Program. You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire before you
receive the medication, and every month, while you are taking the
drug. Only certain pharmacists and doctors may prescribe or dispense
this medication. Patients must sign a Patient-Prescriber agreement
and comply with the REMS requirements.
- Do not share pomalidomide with others.
- You should not smoke cigarettes while taking pomalidomide.
Smoking cigarettes during treatment may effect how well pomalidomide
The amount of pomalidomide you will receive depends on many
factors, including your general health or other health problems, and the
type of cancer or condition being treated. Your doctor will determine
your dosage and schedule.
Important things to remember about the side
effects of pomalidomide:
- Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
- Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and
- Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after
treatment is complete.
- There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects
There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side
effects and the effectiveness of the medication.
The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than
30%) for patients taking pomalidomide:
These side effects are less common side effects (occurring in about
10-29%) of patients receiving pomalidomide:
- Severe life-threatening human birth defects if taken during
pregnancy (see precautions).
- Low white blood cell count
- Shortness of breath
- Upper respiratory infections
- Back pain
- Neuropathy (numbness and tingling)
A serious but rare side effect of pomalidomide is blood clots
forming in the legs or lung. Call your provider right way if you
experience shortness of breath, chest pain or arm or leg swelling.
Pomalidomide is not to be taken during pregnancy. This type of
medication has can cause severe life-threatening birth defects.
Not all side effects are listed above. Some that are rare (occurring in
less than 10% of patients) are not listed here. However, you should
always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual
When to contact your doctor or health care
Contact your health care provider
immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an
emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing
any of the following:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, chills (possible
signs of infection).
- Wheezing, difficulty breathing, closing up of the throat,
swelling of facial features, hives (possible allergic reaction).
- Shortness of breath, chest pain or arm or leg swelling (possible
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Constipation unrelieved by laxative use
- New skin rashes
- Numbness or tingling of your hands or feet
- Swelling of the feet or ankles.
- Sudden weight gain
- Signs of infection such as redness or swelling, pain on
swallowing, coughing up mucous, or painful urination.
- Unable to eat or drink for 24 hours or have signs of dehydration:
tiredness, thirst, dry mouth, dark and decrease amount of urine, or
- Failure in contraception.
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any
- Before starting pomalidomide treatment, make sure you tell your
doctor about any other medications you are taking (including
prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.). Do
not take aspirin, or products containing aspirin unless your doctor
specifically permits this.
- Do not take other medications that may cause drowsiness without
first consulting your health care provider. Also avoid alcohol.
- For both men and women: Use contraceptives, and do not conceive a
child (get pregnant) while taking pomalidomide. Severe,
life-threatening birth defects may result. Two methods of
contraception, such as latex condoms and spermicides, are required.
- For women of childbearing potential. You must use contraception 4
weeks before you can begin pomalidomide. The manufacturer requires
you to take a pregnancy test every month before you start a new
prescription of pomalidomide. This is to ensure that you or your
significant other is not pregnant. Discuss with your doctor when you
may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.
Females must agree to use 2 different forms of effective birth
control at the same time, for at least 4 weeks before, while taking,
during any breaks (interruptions) in your treatment, and for at
least 4 weeks after stopping pomalidomide.
- Males, including those who have had a vasectomy, must use a latex
or synthetic condom during any sexual contact with a pregnant female
or a female that can become pregnant while taking pomalidomide,
during any breaks (interruptions) in your treatment with
pomalidomide, and for 4 weeks after stopping pomalidomide.
- Do not donate sperm while taking pomalidomide, during any breaks
(interruptions) in your treatment, and for 4 weeks after stopping.
- Pregnancy category X (pomalidomide may cause fetal harm when
given to a pregnant woman. This drug must not be given to a pregnant
woman or a woman who intends to become pregnant. If a woman becomes
pregnant while taking thalidomide, the medication must be stopped
immediately and the woman given appropriate counseling).
- Do not breast feed while taking this medication.
- Take this medication in the evening before bedtime. This may help
to minimize daytime drowsiness.
- You may experience drowsiness or dizziness; avoid driving or
engaging in tasks that require alertness until your response to the
drug is known.
- Keep your bowels moving. Your health care provider may prescribe
a stool softener to help prevent constipation that may be caused by
- Drink 2 to 3 quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you were told
to restrict your fluid intake, and maintain good nutrition. This
will decrease your chances of being constipated, and prevent
- You may be at risk of infection report fever or any other signs
of infection immediately to your health care provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sun block and
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a
minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your
- Do not donate blood while you are taking this medication.
- Don't share your pills with anyone!
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss
them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications
and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such
Monitoring and Testing:
You will be checked regularly by your health
care professional while you are taking pomalidomide, to monitor side
effects and check your response to therapy. Periodic blood work to
monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other
organs (such as your kidneys and liver) will also be ordered by your
doctor. For females of child-bearing potential a negative pregnancy test
may be required monthly before the next month's prescription for
pomalidomide is given.
How Pomalidomide Works:
Pomalidomide's exact mechanism of action on
cancer cells is not clear. It may act by inhibiting the growth of new
blood vessels (angiogenesis) in tumors, enhancing the status of the
immune system, or decreasing cytokine and growth factor production.
In normal tissue, new blood vessels are formed during tissue growth and
repair (i.e. a healing wound), and during the development of baby during
pregnancy. Blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients to tissue that are
necessary for growth and survival. In cancer, tumors need blood vessels
in order to grow and spread. Through a complex process, endothelial
cells (which line the blood vessels) are able to divide and grow and
create new blood vessels. This process is called angiogenesis and it
occurs in both healthy tissue and in cancerous tissue.
Additionally, pomalidomide is known to have various effects on the
immune system (immunomodulatory agent), which may contribute to its
therapeutic effect. Pomalidomide may also alter the production and
activity of cytokines (growth factors) involved in the growth and
survival of certain cancer cells. There may be an effect on the genes
that direct the cell's growth and activity particularly those associated
with cytokines (growth factors), apoptosis (cell death), and metabolism.
Pomalidomide enhances T cell- and natural killer cell-mediated immunity.
Additionally, pomalidomide has an effect on lenalidomide-resistant
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care
professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The
information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and
educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.