Injecting the cancer medicine bortezomib yourself

This guide gives you instructions and information about injecting the cancer medicine bortezomib yourself. It covers:

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.

Off-label use

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:

  • your temperature is very high, or you feel hot, shivery or shaky
  • you suddenly feel unwell, even if your temperature is normal
  • you have a sore throat, cough or diarrhoea, or need to pee a lot

You can call our acute oncology service on 020 7188 3754 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

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


Resource number: 5348/VER1
Last reviewed: February 2023
Next review due: February 2026

A list of sources is available on request.

Trusted Information Creator. Patient Information Forum

Contact us

If you have any questions or equipment issues, or need information in a different format, please contact the chemotherapy day unit.

Phone: 020 7188 6452 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)

Email: [email protected]

We aim to respond to emails within 1 working day.

Out of hours contact

Call the acute oncology service (AOS) on 020 7188 3754 (24 hours a day)

If you get any side effects from your treatment or feel unwell, please call the acute oncology service at any time.

Guy’s Cancer at Queen Mary’s Hospital

Please contact the Guy’s and St Thomas’ chemotherapy day unit if you have any questions or the acute oncology service out of hours.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Is this health information page useful?