Does Vitamin C Interfere With Myeloma Treatment?

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Topics include: Treatment

At a recent multiple myeloma town meeting, an audience member wanted to know if vitamin C interferes with the absorption of bortezomib (Velcade). Dr. Orlowski explains why patients should be cautious and provides recommendations for vitamin C consumption.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Jack Aiello:

Christine from Dallas writes, “I had a stem cell transplant last year when I was diagnosed. I’m currently on lenalidomide (Revlimid), Velcade (bortezomib), dex [dexamethasone]. I’ve read that vitamin C interferes with Velcade absorption and action. Is this true?” Dr. Orlowski?

Dr. Orlowski:     

Well, we have laboratory data that show that, if you combine vitamin C with bortezomib, they bind together, and the vitamin C inactivates bortezomib.

So we do recommend that patients not take high doses of vitamin C.  And there’s another chemical called EGCG in green tea, which can do the same.  So you shouldn’t be taking, again, high doses of vitamin C, and you shouldn’t be chugging gallons of green tea while you’re getting bortezomib. But probably, a regular multivitamin and a little orange juice are fine. And, frankly, we’re not sure that it has any impact in patients. We’ve never done the study. 

As you can imagine, we’re certainly not going to do a trial where we put half of people on bortezomib without vitamin C and half of people on bortezomib with vitamin C where we’re worried that maybe one group would do worse. So we’ll never really have the answer. But it’s better to be on the safe side and limit it.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on October 12, 2015