This weekend, I heard from a number of patients that were excited about the sudden availability of carfilzomib (trade name Kyprolis) as soon as next month. Several wanted to drop their ongoing therapies using Velcade and/or Revlimid and switch to the new therapy.
When I asked why, several eagerly shared how they hoped Kyprolis would work better. “My Velcade therapy isn’t making my myeloma go away.” One responded. “I’m excited about using the next new, improved (and approved) drug.”
Please remember that I’m not a physician–and I’m certainly their doctor. But my initial reaction was to scream “NO! Don’t do it!”
In the world of myeloma therapy–unless a patient is undergoing induction therapy before a transplant–stable numbers are good numbers!
While trying Kyprolis after a patients numbers start to go up again might make sense, abandoning a therapy that is holding one’s myeloma at bay is almost always a bad idea.
What if her Velcade therapy continued to keep her counts steady for another year or more? A “stalled” therapy–which is holding a patient’s numbers steady–should be considered a successful therapy. One could argue that making a change now could jeopardize the year or more that this patient could have enjoyed had she and her doctor held the course.
So be careful before deciding to scrap a successful therapy for the newest designer drug to come along. One could risk losing a precious day, week, month or year.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat