If you have multiple myeloma, your doctor may suggest Kyprolis (carfilzomib) as a treatment option. Learning about possible side effects can help you decide if this medication is the right choice for you.

Kyprolis is a prescription drug used in adults to treat multiple myeloma in certain situations.

Kyprolis is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion by a healthcare professional. (An IV infusion is an injection given into a vein over a period of time.)

How long you’ll receive Kyprolis depends on your unique situation and how you respond to the medication. This is typically a long-term treatment, unless your disease gets worse or you have severe side effects.

Like other drugs, Kyprolis can cause mild or serious side effects. The frequency of side effects (how often they occur) can vary depending on the age of the person receiving Kyprolis.

Keep reading to learn more about the potential side effects of Kyprolis. For other information about Kyprolis, including details about its uses, see this in-depth article.

Some people may have mild or serious side effects during their Kyprolis treatment. The following list includes some of the more common side effects in people receiving this drug in studies:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

These are not all of the side effects Kyprolis can cause. Read on to learn more about other possible mild and serious side effects of this medication.

Kyprolis treatment causes mild side effects in some people. Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Kyprolis include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary, and some may be easily managed. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or that bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And do not stop Kyprolis treatment unless your doctor recommends it.

Kyprolis may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the Kyprolis prescribing information for details.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Kyprolis, visit MedWatch.

Serious side effects that have been reported with Kyprolis include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

If you develop serious side effects while receiving Kyprolis, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Learn more about some of the side effects Kyprolis may cause.

Cardiac problems

Serious cardiac (heart) problems are a less common but possible side effect of Kyprolis. Examples of these heart problems include:

In some cases, these heart problems can lead to death. Heart problems can occur at any time while you’re receiving treatment with Kyprolis.

Kyprolis can cause new heart problems in people who didn’t have them before. If you already have heart problems, such as heart failure, Kyprolis may worsen your condition.

People with certain conditions or factors have a higher risk of developing heart problems with Kyprolis. These include:

Symptoms of heart problems vary depending on the specific problem. For example:

What might help

If you notice symptoms of heart problems during Kyprolis treatment, call your doctor right away or call 911. If your doctor confirms that a heart problem is the cause of your symptoms, they’ll likely have you stop taking the drug.

Before starting Kyprolis, talk with your doctor about your risk of heart problems. They’ll likely monitor your heart rate and blood pressure before and during treatment.

Lung damage

Lung problems are a rare but possible side effect of Kyprolis treatment. The following serious lung problems were seen in people who took the drug in studies:

Symptoms of lung damage may include:

What might help

If you develop these symptoms while receiving Kyprolis, tell your doctor. They’ll likely treat your condition with oxygen or other treatments to help improve your breathing. And they will likely have you stop Kyprolis treatment.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is one of the more common side effects of Kyprolis. You may feel that you’re having trouble breathing or that you can’t catch your breath even while at rest. This side effect was usually mild in studies, but in some cases, it was severe.

Severe shortness of breath could also be a symptom of serious side effects such as heart failure, lung disease, or an infection.

You’re most likely to experience shortness of breath within a day of getting a dose of Kyprolis. It’s important to note that shortness of breath can also be a symptom of an infusion reaction from this drug.

What might help

If you develop severe shortness of breath during Kyprolis treatment, tell your doctor. If this side effect feels life threatening, call 911 or seek emergency medical care. You may need oxygen or other treatment right away to assist your breathing.

Your doctor may also check you for other factors that may be affecting your breathing. Depending on what they find, they may lower your dosage of Kyprolis or stop your treatment completely.

Infusion reactions

Infusion-related side effects are possible with Kyprolis. It’s given as an intravenous (IV) infusion by a healthcare professional. An IV infusion is an injection given into a vein over a period of time.

In studies, infusion reactions were more common in people receiving Kyprolis along with Darzalex (daratumumab). This drug is sometimes used with Kyprolis to treat multiple myeloma. But while infusion reactions were less common in those receiving Kyprolis alone, they were sometimes life threatening.

Each Kyprolis infusion takes 10 or 30 minutes. The infusion time depends on the dose of Kyprolis you’re prescribed, whether you’re taking other drugs together with Kyprolis, and what those drugs are. The following symptoms can appear immediately after, or up to 24 hours following, an infusion of Kyprolis:

What might help

There are ways to help prevent or reduce infusion reactions from Kyprolis.

Your doctor will likely have you take a steroid called Hemady (dexamethasone) 30 minutes to 4 hours before each Kyprolis infusion. This medication can help prevent or reduce the severity of infusion-related side effects.

Also, your healthcare professional will likely observe you for a period of time after the infusion. If you start having symptoms, they’ll be ready to help you. It’s a good idea to have someone else drive you home, just in case of an infusion reaction. If symptoms appear a few hours later, call your doctor or seek medical care right away.

Anemia

Anemia (low level of red blood cells) is common during treatment with Kyprolis. Anemia was one of the most common side effects reported in studies of the drug. And in some cases it was serious.

Red blood cells are important because they carry oxygen to your tissues and vital organs throughout your body. Without enough oxygen, the following symptoms can occur:

What might help

You’ll get blood tests throughout your treatment with Kyprolis. This way, your doctor can monitor your red blood cell levels and treat anemia if it occurs.

Treatments can vary, depending on the severity of your anemia. They may include iron supplements or a medication to increase your red blood cell production, such as epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit) or darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp). If your anemia becomes severe, you may need a blood transfusion. Your doctor may also lower your dose of Kyprolis or recommend that you stop treatment.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Kyprolis can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Or they may suggest a topical product, such as hydrocortisone cream, to manage your symptoms.

If your doctor confirms you had a mild allergic reaction to Kyprolis, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you had a serious allergic reaction to Kyprolis, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Kyprolis treatment, consider keeping notes on any side effects you’re having. Then, you can share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful to do when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of the drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon after starting that dose you had the side effect
  • what your symptoms were from the side effect
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help your doctor learn more about how Kyprolis affects you. And your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Kyprolis may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Your doctor will talk with you about your health history before they prescribe Kyprolis. The list below includes factors to consider.

Breathing or lung problems. Kyprolis can cause trouble breathing and increase the risk of lung damage. If you already have lung or breathing problems, this treatment could make your condition or symptoms worse. Talk with your doctor about any lung problems you have before starting Kyprolis. They’ll help you consider the risks and benefits for your situation.

Heart problems. Kyprolis can increase the risk of serious heart problems, such as heart attack and heart failure. If you already have heart problems, this treatment could make your condition or symptoms worse. Talk with your doctor about any heart problems you have before starting Kyprolis. They’ll help you consider the risks and benefits for your particular situation.

Liver or kidney problems. If you have liver or kidney problems, Kyprolis may worsen your condition. If your liver or kidney problems do get worse, your doctor may lower your dosage of Kyprolis. Or they may recommend that you stop the drug altogether. Talk with your doctor about any history of liver or kidney issues before starting Kyprolis.

Ages 75 years and above. Certain Kyprolis side effects can occur more often in older adults. In studies, older adults (ages 75 years and above) developed side effects more often than younger adults. If you’re 75 or above, your doctor will help you consider the risks and benefits of Kyprolis treatment.

Bleeding problems. A low level of platelets is a common side effect of Kyprolis that can cause bleeding. (Platelets are a type of red blood cell that help your blood clot.) If you already have bleeding problems, Kyprolis may worsen your condition. Talk with your doctor about any bleeding problems you have before starting Kyprolis. They’ll help you decide if it’s the right medication for your condition.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Kyprolis or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Kyprolis. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Alcohol use and Kyprolis

Alcohol doesn’t directly interact with Kyprolis. But drinking alcohol while receiving this medication could make side effects like nausea and headache worse. Also, heavy alcohol use can raise your risk of liver damage.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much (if any) is safe for you to consume while receiving Kyprolis.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while receiving Kyprolis

Kyprolis is not safe to use if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Females* who can become pregnant should use effective birth control while receiving Kyprolis and for 6 months after their last dose. Talk with your doctor about which forms of birth control are considered effective with Kyprolis.

Males* receiving Kyprolis treatment should also use birth control, such as condoms, if their partner is able to become pregnant. This should be continued for 3 months after their last dose.

It isn’t known for sure, but Kyprolis is most likely not safe to take while breastfeeding. If the drug passes into breast milk, serious side effects could occur in a breastfed child. It’s recommended that you wait at least 2 weeks after your last dose of Kyprolis before you begin breastfeeding.

If you have any questions about Kyprolis treatment while pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor.

* In this article, we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

Kyprolis is a treatment option for multiple myeloma in certain situations. Like many other drugs, it may cause mild or serious side effects in some people.

When considering a new treatment option, it’s common to be concerned about side effects. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • If I experience side effects with my first Kyprolis infusion, is it likely I’ll have the same side effects with future infusions?
  • Do my medical conditions increase my risk of side effects from Kyprolis?
  • Are there ways to help prevent serious side effects from Kyprolis?

Disclaimer: Healthline 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.