Revlimid (lenalidomide) is a brand-name oral capsule prescribed for certain types of cancer. It works to treat these conditions by stopping cancer cells from growing and multiplying.

Revlimid contains the drug lenalidomide, which is part of the drug class called thalidomide analogue.

Revlimid is approved to treat the following types of cancer in your blood cells:

What is cancer?

Cancer is a condition that involves your cells growing and multiplying uncontrollably.

Cancer can affect the way your cells and organs work. As a result, you may start having symptoms of cancer, such as bleeding, changes in appetite, pain, and headaches.

What is multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects your blood cells. In particular, it affects your white blood cells and plasma cells.

In people with multiple myeloma, white blood cells and plasma cells grow and multiply very quickly and uncontrollably. This causes cancer in the blood. As the cancer cells move through your blood, they reach all parts of your body. Some cancer cells may build up in certain organs and cause organ-specific symptoms.

What is myelodysplastic syndrome?

Myelodysplastic syndrome is a type of cancer in the blood. Some people with myelodysplastic syndrome also have anemia (low levels of red blood cells). Red blood cells are important because they carry oxygen through your blood to the rest of your body.

People with red blood cell transfusion-dependent anemia may need to have a red blood cell transfusion, a procedure in which they receive donated blood.

What are lymphomas?

Lymphoma is a cancer that affects specific cells (called white blood cells) within your blood, called lymphocytes. The cancerous lymphocytes grow and multiply uncontrollably. They move through your blood and reach several parts of your body.

There are different types of lymphoma, but most of them share many characteristics. Types of lymphoma include:

  • mantle cell lymphoma
  • follicular lymphoma
  • marginal zone lymphoma

What does Revlimid do?

Revlimid can stop cancer cells from growing and multiplying, which stops the progression (worsening) of cancer. Revlimid can also cause existing cancer cells to die.

In certain types of cancers, Revlimid’s effects can be increased if it’s taken with other drugs. Examples of drugs that increase Revlimid’s effects include:

  • dexamethasone, for people with multiple myeloma
  • rituximab, in people with follicular and marginal zone lymphomas

Revlimid will likely start working in your body a few hours after you start taking it. However, you may not notice any change in your symptoms. Your doctor will determine how well Revlimid is working for you based on the results of your blood tests.

If you have questions about Revlimid’s effects on your condition, talk with your doctor.

If you’d like to learn more about Revlimid, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about how the drug works in your body.

If you’d like to learn about other aspects of Revlimid, you can explore these articles:

  • More information about Revlimid. For details about other aspects of Revlimid, refer to this article.
  • Side effects. To learn about side effects of Revlimid, see this article. You can also look at the Revlimid prescribing information.
  • Cost. If you’d like to learn about Revlimid and cost, see this article.
  • Drug comparison. To learn how Revlimid compares with Velcade, read this article.
  • Dosage. For information about the dosage of Revlimid, view this article.
  • A look at cancer. For details about certain cancers, see our cancer hub.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.