Alpha lipoic acid is one of the best–if not the best–anti-neuropathy supplements available. Velcade (bortezomib) causes peripheral neuropathy (PN) in most patients that use it.
So understandably, many cancer centers that treat multiple myeloma are recommending patients take alpha lipoic acid (ALA) to help minimize Velcade induced PN.
But apparently, alpha lipoic acid shouldn’t be taken with Velcade. According to researchers at the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, West Hollywood, CA and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cambridge, MA (the manufacturers of Velcade), not only does alpha lipoic acid disrupt the ability of Velcade to do it’s job, ALA also helps promote myeloma cell growth.
Here is their conclusion from a study published at ASH in December, 2009:
Results: The exposure of cells to ALA alone had a stimulatory effect on the growth of both MM cell lines in vitro…
Conclusions: Our data suggest that ALA has the potential to antagonize the anti‑MM effects of bortezomib based on our in vitro results using MM cell lines. Thus, it is possible that ALA could negatively impact the therapeutic benefit of bortezomib for MM patients…
SAY IT AIN’T SO! You mean to tell me that our doctors are still recommending a supplement that interferes with Velcade and may even make our myeloma worse?
I take a lot of alpha lipoic acid–and I’m currently undergoing weekly Velcade sub-q therapy. Which raises the question: Does this mean Velcade users shouldn’t be taking it at all, or just the day of and/or the days before and after treatment?
Who knows? This is a sub-clinical study–so we would only be guessing.
Anyway, this got me thinking. Velcade does seem to be unusually sensitive to certain foods and supplements. So what other things should we or shouldn’t we be consuming while we are using Velcade?
I will put together a list of things to avoid while undergoing Velcade therapy tomorrow.
In the meantime, CLICK HERE to access the abstract that I reference above if you would like to read more.
Since my maintenance treatment regimen only calls for Velcade once a week, I think I’m going to not use ALA the day before, day of and day following my Velcade infusion, because I think it does help minimize my PN a bit. But what about the possibility that it might help stimulate myeloma growth? Oops! Forgot about that part!
Darn it! I just bought a new bottle of the stuff yesterday. Anyone want a free month’s supply?
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat