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Generic Name: pomalidomide (pom a LID oh mide)
Brand Names: Pomalyst

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Jun 2, 2020.

What is Pomalyst?

Pomalyst (pomalidomide) affects the immune system. It promotes immune responses to help slow tumor growth.

Pomalyst is used to treat multiple myeloma (cancer resulting from a progressive blood disease). It is usually given after at least two other medications have been tried without success.

Pomalyst is available only from a certified pharmacy under a special program. You must be registered in the program and agree to use birth control measures as required.

Important Information

Never use Pomalyst if you are pregnant. Even one dose of pomalidomide can cause severe, life-threatening birth defects or death of a baby if the mother or the father is taking this medicine at the time of conception or during pregnancy.

Use birth control to prevent pregnancy, whether you are a man or a woman. For women: Use two forms of birth control beginning 4 weeks before you start taking Pomalyst and ending 4 weeks after you stop taking it. For men: Use a condom to prevent pregnancy during your treatment, and for up to 28 days after your treatment ends.

Pomalyst may cause blood clots. Call your doctor at once if you have symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, sudden numbness or weakness, problems with vision or speech, or swelling or redness in an arm or leg.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Pomalyst if you are allergic to pomalidomide, or if you are pregnant.

Pomalyst can cause severe, life-threatening birth defects if the mother or father is taking this medicine at the time of conception or during pregnancy. Even one dose of pomalidomide can cause major defects of the baby's arms and legs, bones, ears, eyes, face, and heart.

For women (if you have not had a hysterectomy): Do not use Pomalyst if you are pregnant. Use two forms of birth control beginning 4 weeks before you start taking Pomalyst and ending 4 weeks after your last dose.

The birth control method must be proven highly effective (birth control pills, intrauterine device, tubal ligation, sex partner's vasectomy). The extra form must be a barrier method such as a latex condom, a diaphragm, or a cervical cap.

Stop using Pomalyst and call your doctor at once if you quit using birth control, if your period is late, or if you think you might be pregnant.

For men: Use a condom to prevent pregnancy while taking pomalidomide, and for up to 28 days after your last dose. Always use a latex condom when having sex with a woman who can get pregnant, even if you have had a vasectomy. Contact your doctor if you have had unprotected sex, even once, or if your sex partner may be pregnant.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Pomalyst may cause other types of cancer, such as leukemia or lymphoma. Ask your doctor about this risk.

You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How should I take Pomalyst?

Pomalyst is usually taken once per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Never share this medicine with another person.

Take each dose with a full glass of water. Take the medicine at the same time each day, with or without food. Swallow the capsule whole.

Do not break, chew, or open a Pomalyst capsule. The medicine from a broken pill can be dangerous if it gets in your mouth, eyes, or nose, or on your skin. If this happens, wash your skin with soap and water or rinse your eyes with water. Ask your pharmacist how to safely dispose of a broken pill.

You may need frequent blood tests.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Return any unused Pomalyst to your doctor, or as directed.

Pomalyst dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Multiple Myeloma:

-4 mg orally once a day on Days 1 to 21 of repeated 28-day cycles until disease progression

-Comments: This drug should be given in combination with dexamethasone; consult the manufacturer product information for dexamethasone> dosing when used in combination with pomalidomide.

-Use: Treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least 2 prior therapies, including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor, and have demonstrated disease progression on or within 60 days of completion of the last therapy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if you are more than 12 hours late for the dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Pomalyst?

Do not donate blood or sperm while you are using Pomalyst.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

Pomalyst side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Pomalyst (hives, dizziness, fast heartbeats, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Seek medical treatment if you have a serious drug reaction that can affect many parts of your body. Symptoms may include: skin rash, fever, swollen glands, flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, severe weakness, unusual bruising, or yellowing of your skin or eyes.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands or feet;

  • heart attack symptoms - chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;

  • low blood cell counts - fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath;

  • signs of a stroke - sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), severe headache, slurred speech, balance problems;

  • signs of a blood clot in the lung - chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood;

  • signs of a blood clot in your leg - swelling, warmth, or redness in an arm or leg; or

  • signs of tumor cell breakdown - confusion, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, fast or slow heart rate, decreased urination, tingling in your hands and feet or around your mouth.

Common Pomalyst side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Pomalyst?

Taking Pomalyst with other drugs that cause dizziness or confusion can worsen these effects. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Other drugs may interact with pomalidomide, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Pomalyst only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.