Here is a subject bound to raise a lot of discussion and perhaps some hackles: supplements. It's a big subject, one that is hard to define. For now, let's just call supplements substances that are taken orally and can be easily purchased over the counter, often in health food stores. They are often touted as treatments for all sorts of ailments, which is up for debate, but we know some supplements can be helpful to some people. For myeloma patients, here is some information about supplements that you should know. For starters, never take a supplement without first talking to your doctor. Supplements that you might think can only help you, might turn out to hurt you, either directly or by interfering with your myeloma treatment.
Like any other drugs, supplements can have unexpected effects. There have been a series of scientific articles published within the last few years that indicate that some common supplements may inhibit the activity of Velcade (bortezomib). They are alpha lipoic acid, Vitamin C and green tea.
While these articles only look at the effect of these substances on Velcade in the lab and not in people, most doctors recommend caution with their use for patients taking Velcade. Usually, the suggestion is that patients avoid alpha lipoic acid, Vitamin C, and green tea on the day before, the day of, and the day after they receive their Velcade. Again, make sure you discuss this issue with your doctor before either starting or abandoning these substances while taking Velcade.
We'll continue to blog occasionally on other supplements that are of particular interest to myeloma patients.