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Lenalidomide (By mouth)

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

Treats anemia caused by myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Also treats cancer of the blood, 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 can cause serious, possibly life-threatening birth defects in unborn babies. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you may become pregnant during treatment. Do not use this medicine if you have 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. This means take it at the same time and take it consistently, either with or without food.
  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush, break, chew, or open it. Drink a glass of water (about 8 ounces) when you take this medicine.
  • 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.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine, and it has been less than 12 hours since your regular time, take your dose as soon as you can.
  • If it has been more than 12 hours since your regular time, skip your dose and wait until your next regular dose time. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using digoxin (Lanoxin®) or a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®). Tell your doctor if you are also using darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp®), epoetin alfa (Procrit®, Epogen®), or any medicine that contains estrogen.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Use 2 forms of effective birth control during your treatment (even when treatment is briefly stopped), and for at least 4 weeks after your treatment ends. This is very important whether you are a man or a woman.
  • Women: If you can get pregnant, you must have 2 negative pregnancy tests before you start lenalidomide therapy. Pregnancy tests may be done weekly for the first month, and then every month after that if you have regular periods or every 2 weeks if you have irregular periods. Use 2 forms of birth control for 4 weeks before you start treatment, during treatment, and for 4 weeks after treatment ends. The most effective forms of birth control for women include birth control pills or implants, a diaphragm or cervical cap, an IUD, and tubal ligation.
  • Men: Use a condom every time you have intercourse with a woman who could get pregnant. Use a condom even if you have had a vasectomy.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have liver disease or any other blood disease. Tell your doctor if you are lactose intolerant.
  • Do not donate blood or sperm while you take this medicine and for at least 4 weeks after you stop taking this medicine.
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Avoid people who are ill, and wash your hands often. Brush and floss your teeth gently, do not play rough sports, and be careful with sharp objects.
  • This medicine may increase your risk of certain cancers (such as acute myelogenous leukemia or Hodgkin lymphoma). Talk to your doctor about this risk.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

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, rapid weight gain, swelling of the feet or lower legs, uneven heartbeat, or seizures
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, coughing up blood
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in your upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body
  • Pain in your lower leg (calf)
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or walking
  • 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: 4/4/2014

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