COVID-19 FAQ #12: If a myeloma patient takes Revlimid (lenalidomide) as maintenance treatment, should this patient continue with that treatment during the pandemic?
Continuing his COVID-19 FAQ series, Dr. Brian G.M. Durie discusses if myeloma patients taking Revlimid as a maintenance therapy should consider altering their treatment.
Stick to your Revlimid maintenance therapy despite the COVID-19 crisis and discuss any treatment changes with your doctor.
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Videos in the COVID-19 Series
- FAQ #1: How can myeloma pts reduce the possibility of being exposed to the coronavirus?
- FAQ #2: What do myeloma patients need to know about COVID-19?
- FAQ #3: Do myeloma patients need to adjust their treatment?
- FAQ #4: What are some of the treatment modifications myeloma patients should consider?
- FAQ #5: What are the risk factors that could lead myeloma patients to develop serious consequences from the COVID-19 infection?
- FAQ #6: What precautions should myeloma patients take when getting their groceries?
- FAQ #7: Is it safe for myeloma patients to take walks?
- FAQ #8: Is physical distancing still recommended for myeloma patients?
- FAQ #9: Can myeloma patients avoid contracting the COVID-19 infection?
- FAQ #10: Should Myeloma patients undergo routine COVID-19 antibody testing?
- FAQ #11: Are MGUS and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) patients considered to be at higher risk for severe consequences from a COVID-19 infection?
- FAQ #12: If a myeloma patient takes Revlimid® (lenalidomide) as maintenance treatment, should this patient continue with that treatment during the pandemic?
- FAQ #13: Is it safe for myeloma patients to resume in-person doctors' visits?
- FAQ #14: Should myeloma patients undergo ASCT during the pandemic?
- FAQ #15: Is dexamethasone helpful against the COVID-19 infection?
- FAQ #16: Is it safe for myeloma patients to travel by airplane?
- FAQ #17: How high of a risk do asymptomatic carriers pose to myeloma patients?
- FAQ #18: Is Ninlaro® a safe treatment alternative for myeloma patients during the pandemic?
This “Ask Dr. Durie” is another common question, which is “If I’m doing well, in remission, taking Revlimid (lenalidomide) as my maintenance treatment, should I continue with that during this COVID-19 crisis period?”
And the answer to this is a pretty straightforward, probably yes. And why do I say that? Well, for several reasons. Number one: Revlimid (lenalidomide) in its action against myeloma also suppresses inflammation, which is one of the complicating factors of the COVID-19 infection. Well actually, continuing with Revlimid might indeed be helpful versus something that is having a negative impact. And so, it’s not something that is a significant concern.
One issue that can emerge is if the Revlimid is at a dosage where it is impacting the blood counts, particularly the white blood cell count level, or perhaps the platelets. If there is a reduction in either one of those, it is a prudent time to reduce the dosage of the Revlimid to a little bit lower dose to be sure that you are safe as you continue with treatment. Avoid problems, including infection, for example, if your white blood count should drop low.
And so, the BOTTOM LINE is that most likely it will be safe and recommended actually for you to continue your Revlimid treatment, because ultimately, the most important thing is that your myeloma stays in remission. That’s what we are all trying to achieve even during this time of the COVID-19 crisis. As always, particularly in this case, I recommend that you discuss the pros and the cons of ongoing treatment with your own personal doctor so that you are both on the same page and are comfortable with the ongoing plans.
Dr. Brian G.M. Durie serves as Chairman of the International Myeloma Foundation and serves on its Scientific Advisory Board. Additionally, he is Chairman of the IMF's International Myeloma Working Group, a consortium of nearly 200 myeloma experts from around the world. Dr. Durie also leads the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative®.