Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Anemia: Pomalidomide may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired, or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells, including red blood cells, in your blood.
Birth control: Pomalidomide is similar to thalidomide in how it works. It is expected to cause severe and life-threatening birth defects. It is critical that two methods of birth control are used for all sexual contact while taking the medication and for 4 weeks after stopping the medication.
Pomalidomide is found in the semen of males taking this medication. Exposure to the medication in this manner can cause birth defects, stillbirths and miscarriages for a pregnant partner. It is critical that condoms be used during any sexual contact while taking this medication, during the "medication-free" days of a treatment cycle and for at least 4 weeks after stopping the medication.
For women taking pomalidomide, your doctor should perform pregnancy tests regularly while you are taking this medication.
Bleeding: Pomalidomide may cause a reduced number of platelets in the blood, which can make it difficult to stop cuts from bleeding. If you notice any signs of bleeding, such as frequent nosebleeds, unexplained bruising, or black and tarry stools, notify your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will order routine blood tests to make sure potential problems are caught early.
Blood clots: This medication may increase the chance of blood clot formation, causing reduction of blood flow to organs or the extremities.
If you have a history of clotting you may be at increased risk of experiencing blood clot-related problems such as heart attack, stroke, or clots in the deep veins of your leg. Discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
If you experience symptoms such as sharp pain and swelling in the leg, difficulty breathing, chest pain, blurred vision or difficulty speaking, contact your doctor immediately.
Donating blood: Do not donate blood while you are using this medication and for at least 4 weeks after stopping the medication to ensure that the medication has completely left your body. If your blood was given to a pregnant woman, it could seriously harm the unborn baby.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Pomalidomide may cause fatigue, confusion or dizziness, affecting your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid these and other hazardous tasks until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, pomalidomide can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). If possible, avoid contact with people with contagious infections. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness.
If you are taking other medications that reduce the effectiveness of your immune system you may be at a greater risk of developing a severe, or life-threatening infection. Discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have kidney problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Secondary cancers: Your doctor will monitor you for the development of other types of cancer while using pomalidomide and after treatment has stopped. Like other medications to treat cancer, it is possible that pomalidomide may permit another type of cancer to develop. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.
Tumour Lysis Syndrome: Pomalidomide, like many other cancer medications, causes many cancer cells to be suddenly killed when treatment is first started. This can overwhelm the body with waste products from the cells. As a result, the body may not be able to keep up with getting rid of all the waste. When this happens, you may experience nausea or shortness of breath, or notice cloudy urine or joint pain. This is called tumour lysis syndrome. Your doctor may prescribe some medications to help your body get rid of the waste products. Make sure you understand how to use these medications and report any of these signs or symptoms to your doctor immediately.
Vaccines: Vaccines may be ineffective if given during treatment with pomalidomide. Live virus vaccines (e.g., smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, shingles) are not recommended during treatment with this medication.
Pregnancy: Pomalidomide is likely to cause severe and life-threatening birth defects if a developing baby comes into contact with the medication. This medication should not be used if you or your partner is pregnant or planning to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while you or your partner is using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: Due to the risk of severe harm to an infant, women who are taking this medication should not breast-feed.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: There is limited information about the safety of pomalidomide use (combined with dexamethasone) by seniors. The dexamethasone may increase the risk of infection and a lower dose may be needed.