Lenalidomide (Revlimid®) maintenance post autologous stem cell transplant

We are delighted to announce that as of 1 April 2020 the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) have listed lenalidomide (Revlimid®) as maintenance therapy after an autologous stem cell transplant for myeloma.

Lenalidomide is an immunomodulatory drug with multiple mechanisms of action against myeloma cells. Until recently, it was only listed on the PBS for use in combination with other medications as a line of treatment for myeloma. This new indication relates to maintenance therapy. Maintenance therapy is used after an autologous stem cell transplant has brought the myeloma under control to prolong the period of response to treatment, whether in remission or plateau.

Many people have been able to access lenalidomide as maintenance therapy after autologous stem cell transplant via a compassionate access scheme provided by the manufacturer. They will now have access to their maintenance lenalidomide via the PBS.

For more information on lenalidomide, go to our treatment fact sheet on our website:
https://myeloma.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Lenalidomide_FS_A4_feb20.pdf

Special changes to bortezomib (Velcade®) access due to COVID-19

You will have noticed lots of changes happening to the way hospitals are delivering care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Great effort has been dedicated to rapidly changing systems in order to keep the community safe. This includes changes to normal treatment pathways. In particular, in the current climate of increased risk of serious infection due to COVID-19, in many cases it is not safe to proceed with planned stem cell transplants. This is due to the risk involved with further supressing the immune system and the need to preserve hospital resources.

Myeloma Australia’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Group have lobbied the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) to make special consideration for people with myeloma who have commenced or are about to commence induction therapy with bortezomib (Velcade®) in anticipation of an autologous stem cells transplant.

We are pleased to announce that as of 1 April 2020, the PBAC have extended access to bortezomib for up to 6 months during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that where usually the PBS would allow access to 4 cycles of bortezomib therapy prior to autologous stem cell transplant, they will now allow bortezomib therapy to continue until it is safe to proceed to transplant.

For more information on bortezomib, go to our treatment fact sheet on our website:
https://myeloma.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Bortezomib-FS-May18.pdf