Injecting the cancer medicine bortezomib yourself
This guide gives you instructions and information about injecting the cancer medicine bortezomib yourself. It covers:
- how the medicine works
- safety tips for using bortezomib
- collecting, storing and handling bortezomib
- preparing and giving yourself bortezomib injections
The aim of this guide is to help you give yourself the medicine at home. It is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or nurse.
Injecting bortezomib yourself
A nurse has already shown you how to give yourself an injection under the skin (a subcutaneous injection). You and the nurse have agreed that:
- you can inject the medicine yourself
- you feel comfortable doing this
You have a phone appointment with a nurse on the day that you first need to inject bortezomib. They check that you have successfully given yourself the injection.
If you have any questions not covered in this guide or are not sure how to inject bortezomib, please contact your hospital team. They can support and help you.
Bortezomib is officially approved (licensed) for use when a health professional gives you the medicine.
If you inject bortezomib yourself, this is not an officially approved use of the medicine. It is called an off-label use of the medicine.
However, we believe that giving yourself the medicine at home is a safe and convenient way for you to have treatment. It will reduce the number of hospital visits that you need to make and save you time.
Please read the information that we give you about off-label use of the medicine. You can speak to your hospital team if you have any concerns.
About the medicine bortezomib
Bortezomib, which has the brand name Velcade®, is used to treat:
- myeloma (a blood cancer affecting white blood cells called plasma cells that fight infection)
- mantle cell lymphoma (a rare blood cancer that starts in the white blood cells of the immune system)
Sometimes, bortezomib can be used to treat other types of cancers.
How the medicine works
Bortezomib is a type of targeted therapy. This means that the medicine is used to find and attack cancer cells.
Bortezomib stops cancer cells from breaking down damaged or unwanted proteins. The proteins then build up inside the cancer cells and kill them.
Side effects of bortezomib
Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist explains the common side effects of bortezomib treatment.
Contact us immediately if:
If you get side effects or have any concerns that are not addressed in this guide, please contact your hospital.
Tips for using bortezomib safely
Here is a list of general tips for how to use bortezomib safely.
- take it in turns to inject into the left and right sides of your tummy (abdomen) or outer left and right thigh
- choose a different area of skin for each injection
- put your used syringe and needle in the yellow sharps bin with a purple lid each time that you inject and never leave them lying around
- give yourself the injection at about the same time each morning when you are due to have a dose
- contact the chemotherapy day unit if you are not sure how to inject or would like more information
- store your medicine appropriately in the fridge and out of the reach of children and pets
- do not put the syringe down anywhere or touch the needle with anything before injecting
- do not inject into bruised, scarred or damaged skin
- do not rub the skin after you have injected
- do not share or let anyone else use your syringes or medicines
- do not throw away any equipment or medicines in your general household waste
- do not overfill the sharps bin. The lid must be closed when the bin is full. You or your carer must return the bin to the hospital at your next visit, or contact your local council to arrange collection