This Horizons Infosheet contains information on the chemotherapy drug bendamustine (also known as bendamustine hydrochloride, Ribomustin®, Levact® and Treanda®).
Bendamustine is a chemotherapy drug. It is not a new drug and has been used to treat certain cancers since the 1970s in Germany.
Bendamustine works by damaging the DNA within cells. DNA is the genetic material within human cells. Damaging the DNA prevents the repair, replication and multiplication of myeloma cells and results in their death.
Bendamustine is given as an intravenous infusion (into the vein) over 30 – 60 minutes.
The most commonly reported side-effects of bendamustine include: low white blood cell levels (lymphopenia); low platelet levels (thrombocytopenia); low red blood cell levels (anaemia); allergic reactions; fever; nausea and vomiting. You may not lose your hair but it is likely to become thinner. The side-effects associated with the use of bendamustine will normally resolve when treatment is stopped.
For an up-to-date list of UK clinical trials involving bendamustine, visit the Myeloma Trial Finder on trials.myeloma.org.uk
Doctors are able to apply to use bendamustine in their patients through a local Individual Funding Request in England and Wales. If approved, this enables doctors to treat individual patients with bendamustine if they believe it is the best treatment for them.
Bendamustine continues to be studied in different patient groups and in different treatment combinations. These trials will provide information about the safest and most effective way to use bendamustine in myeloma.