Skip to main content

Lenalidomide (By mouth)

Lenalidomide (len-a-LID-oh-mide)

Treats myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Also treats cancer, including multiple myeloma (plasma cell cancer) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use if you are pregnant, or if you had an allergic reaction to lenalidomide.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • Take this medicine the same way every day. Take it at the same time and take it consistently, either with or without food.
  • Swallow the capsule whole with water. Do not crush, break, chew, or open it.
  • Do not open the capsules or handle them any more than needed. If you accidentally open or handle the medicine in the capsule, wash your skin with soap and water right away.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose:
    • Less than 12 hours since your regular time: Take the missed dose as soon as you can. Take your next dose at the normal time.
    • More than 12 hours since your regular time: Skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the normal time. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some foods and medicines can affect how lenalidomide works. Tell your doctor if you are using digoxin or a blood thinner (such as warfarin). Tell your doctor if you are also using darbepoetin alfa, epoetin alfa, or any medicine that contains estrogen.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • This medicine may cause birth defects if either partner is using it during conception or pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you or your partner becomes pregnant.
  • Women should begin 2 forms of reliable birth 4 weeks before starting therapy. Continue birth control during therapy and for 4 weeks after the last dose. Routine pregnancy tests are necessary. Call your doctor or 1-888-668-2528 for emergency contraception information if you think you are pregnant.
  • Men, even those who have had a vasectomy, must prevent pregnancy in their sexual partners during therapy and for 4 weeks after the last dose. Do not donate sperm while using this medicine. Call your doctor or 1-888-668-2528 for emergency contraception information if you think your sexual partner may be pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or lactose intolerance.
  • Do not donate blood during therapy and for 1 month after the last dose.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Decrease in some blood cell counts
    • Blood clots (such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism)
    • Higher risk of new cancers (such as myelogenous leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma)
    • Serious liver problems
    • Tumor flare reaction
    • Tumor lysis syndrome
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Wash your hands often.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Change in how often you urinate, uneven heartbeat, or seizures
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, coughing up blood
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of your body, sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or walking
  • Pain in your lower leg (calf)
  • Swollen lymph glands, low fever, pain, rash
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Joint, back, or muscle pain
  • Mild rash or itching skin
  • Tiredness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 11/4/2014
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
Copyright © 1984- Truven Health Analytics. All rights reserved.

Thomson & A.D.A.M