Myeloma treatment and side effects
Myeloma treatment side effects
Treatment side effects depend on the particular drugs you’re taking. It’s important to tell your hospital team if you notice anything that may be a side effect of your treatment.
Every medicine comes with a risk of unwanted effects called side effects. But everyone is different. So even if you know someone who’s had the same treatment, you’re unlikely to experience it in exactly the same way.
Of course, some side effects are more common than others and it might be helpful to ask your hospital team what these are.
If you do notice anything that might be side effect of treatment, it’s important to tell your hospital team. They will help by prescribing medicine or suggest things you can do yourself to ease the symptoms.
Another thing your hospital team can do is lower the dose of a particular drug if it is causing you problems. There are many myeloma drugs available, so there may also be an option to change your treatment if it’s hard to tolerate.
It can be helpful to talk to other people with blood cancer about side effects and share experiences and tips. You can do this on our online community forum.
You may also want to read our general information on common side effects of blood cancer treatment.
"When I started treatment, one of my first questions was would I lose my hair straight away? I’m Afro-Caribbean, and my hair was really thick."
Simone, living with myeloma since 2018
Read Simone's story about how she coped with hair loss during myeloma treatment
The risk of infection
If you have myeloma, you are at higher risk of infection because the myeloma stops your immune system working effectively. Treatment affects your immune system too, making you even more vulnerable to infections from viruses and bacteria.
This includes the covid-19 virus, so it’s important to talk to your hospital team about what you can do to avoid covid, especially during treatment. We have more information about managing your risk of infection and covid treatments you may be entitled to.
"During the tougher moments, being kind to yourself, recognising that your body has been through a lot, and that these changes are not your fault or a reflection on you as a person, can all help."
Surabhi, psychologist supporting people with blood cancer at King's College Hospital
Finding out more
If you want detailed information about the side effects of the drugs you are taking, talk to your hospital team. They will tell you what to look out for and may have printed information to give you.
You should be given a patient leaflet with any drugs you have. This lists side effects according to how common they are. You can also find these leaflets online on the EMC (Electronic Medicines Compendium) website.
It can be alarming to read a long list of side effects. But drug manufacturers are obliged to include every side effect that’s been reported to them, and that’s why the list is so long.
Talk to your hospital team or our Support Service if you are worried about side effects.
Talk to other people affected by blood cancer
Hear from and connect with people who understand.