POMALYST® (pomalidomide)

POMALYST® (pomalidomide) capsules

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POMALYST® (pomalidomide)

Pomalidomide is a thalidomide analog. The chemical name is (RS)-4-Amino-2-(2,6-dioxo-piperidin-3-yl)-isoindoline-1,3-dione. The empirical formula for pomalidomide is C13H11N3O4 and the gram molecular weight is 273.24.

Pomalidomide is a yellow solid powder. It has limited to low solubility into organic solvents and it has low solubility in all pH solutions (about 0.01 mg/mL). Pomalidomide has a chiral carbon atom which exists as a racemic mixture of the R(+) and S(-) enantiomers.

POMALYST is available in 1-mg, 2-mg, 3-mg, and 4-mg capsules for oral administration. Each capsule contains pomalidomide as the active ingredient and the following inactive ingredients: mannitol, pregelatinized starch, and sodium stearyl fumarate. The 1-mg capsule shell contains gelatin, titanium dioxide, FD&C blue 2, yellow iron oxide, white ink, and black ink. The 2-mg capsule shell contains gelatin, titanium dioxide, FD&C blue 2, yellow iron oxide, FD&C red 3, and white ink. The 3-mg capsule shell contains gelatin, titanium dioxide, FD&C blue 2, yellow iron oxide, and white ink. The 4-mg capsule shell contains gelatin, titanium dioxide, FD&C blue 1, FD&C blue 2, and white ink.


POMALYST is a thalidomide analogue indicated, for the treatment of adult patients:

  • in combination with dexamethasone, for patients with multiple myeloma (MM) who have received at least two prior therapies including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor and have demonstrated disease progression on or within 60 days of completion of the last therapy
  • with AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma (KS) after failure of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) or in patients with KS who are HIVnegative. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial(s)

Mechanism of Action

Pomalidomide is an analogue of thalidomide with immunomodulatory, antiangiogenic, and antineoplastic properties. Cellular activities of pomalidomide are mediated through its target cereblon, a component of a cullin ring E3 ubiquitin ligase enzyme complex. In vitro, in the presence of drug, substrate proteins (including Aiolos and Ikaros) are targeted for ubiquitination and subsequent degradation leading to direct cytotoxic and immunomodulatory effects. In in vitro cellular assays, pomalidomide inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis of hematopoietic tumor cells. Additionally, pomalidomide inhibited the proliferation of lenalidomide resistant multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines and synergized with dexamethasone in both lenalidomide-sensitive and lenalidomide-resistant cell lines to induce tumor cell apoptosis. Pomalidomide enhanced T cell- and natural killer (NK) cell-mediated immunity and inhibited production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g., TNF-α and IL-6) by monocytes. Pomalidomide demonstrated anti-angiogenic activity in a mouse tumor model and in the in vitro umbilical cord model.


Absorption: Following administration of single oral doses of POMALYST, the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) for pomalidomide occurs at 2 to 3 hours postdose in patients with MM or KS.

Effect of Food: Co-administration of POMALYST with a high-fat meal (approximately 50% of the total caloric content) and high-calorie meal (approximately 800 to 1000 calories) (the meal contained approximately 150, 250, and 500 to 600 calories from protein, carbohydrates, and fat, respectively) delays the Tmax by 2.5 hours, decreased mean plasma Cmax and AUC in healthy subjects by about 27% and 8%, respectively.

Distribution: Pomalidomide has a mean apparent volume of distribution (Vd/F) between 62 and 138 L at steady state in patients with MM or KS. Pomalidomide is distributed in semen of healthy subjects at a concentration of approximately 67% of plasma level at 4 hours postdose (~Tmax) after 4 days of 2 mg once-daily dosing. Human plasma protein binding of pomalidomide ranges from 12% to 44% and is not concentration dependent. Pomalidomide is a substrate for P-gp.

Elimination: Pomalidomide has a mean total body clearance (CL/F) of 7-10 L/h in patients with MM or KS. Pomalidomide is eliminated with a median plasma half-life of 9.5 hours in healthy subjects and 7.5 hours in patients with MM or KS.

Metabolism: Pomalidomide is primarily metabolized in the liver by CYP1A2 and CYP3A4. Minor contributions from CYP2C19 and CYP2D6 were also observed in vitro.

Excretion: Following a single oral administration of [14C]-pomalidomide to healthy subjects, approximately 73% and 15% of the radioactive dose was eliminated in urine and feces, respectively, with approximately 2% and 8% of the radiolabeled dose eliminated unchanged as pomalidomide in urine and feces.

Dosage and administration

Recommended Dosage for Multiple Myeloma: The recommended dosage of POMALYST is 4 mg once daily orally with or without food on Days 1 through 21 of each 28-day cycle until disease progression. Give POMALYST in combination with dexamethasone.

Recommended Dosage for Kaposi Sarcoma: The recommended dosage of POMALYST is 5 mg once daily taken orally with or without food on Days 1 through 21 of each 28-day cycle until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Continue HAART as HIV treatment in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma (KS)


Pregnancy: POMALYST is contraindicated in females who are pregnant. POMALYST can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant female. Pomalidomide is a thalidomide analogue and is teratogenic in both rats and rabbits when administered during the period of organogenesis. If the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential risk to a fetus.

Hypersensitivity: POMALYST is contraindicated in patients who have demonstrated severe hypersensitivity (e.g., angioedema, anaphylaxis) to pomalidomide or any of the excipients


Warnings and precautions

  • Increased Mortality: Observed in patients with MM when pembrolizumab was added to dexamethasone and a thalidomide analogue
  • Hematologic Toxicity: Neutropenia was the most frequently reported Grade 3/4 adverse event. Monitor patients for hematologic toxicities, especially neutropenia
  • Hepatotoxicity: Hepatic failure including fatalities; monitor liver function tests monthly
  • Severe Cutaneous Reactions: Discontinue POMALYST for severe reactions
  • Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS): Monitor patients at risk of TLS (i.e., those with high tumor burden) and take appropriate precautions
  • Hypersensitivity: Monitor patients for potential hypersensitivity. Discontinue POMALYST for angioedema and anaphylaxis

Adverse reactions

  • MM: Most common adverse reactions (≥30%) included fatigue and asthenia, neutropenia, anemia, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, dyspnea, upper-respiratory tract infections, back pain, and pyrexia
  • KS: Most common adverse reactions including laboratory abnormalities (≥30%) are decreased absolute neutrophil count or white blood cells, elevated creatinine or glucose, rash, constipation, fatigue, decreased hemoglobin, platelets, phosphate, albumin, or calcium, increased ALT, nausea, and diarrhea.

Use in specific populations

Pregnancy: Based on the mechanism of action and findings from animal studies, POMALYST can cause embryo-fetal harm when administered to a pregnant female and is contraindicated during pregnancy.

POMALYST is a thalidomide analogue. Thalidomide is a human teratogen, inducing a high frequency of severe and life-threatening birth defects such as amelia (absence of limbs), phocomelia (short limbs), hypoplasticity of the bones, absence of bones, external ear abnormalities (including anotia, micropinna, small or absent external auditory canals), facial palsy, eye abnormalities (anophthalmos, microphthalmos), and congenital heart defects. Alimentary tract, urinary tract, and genital malformations have also been documented, and mortality at or shortly after birth has been reported in about 40% of infants.

Lactation: There is no information regarding the presence of pomalidomide in human milk, the effects of POMALYST on the breastfed child, or the effects of POMALYST on milk production. Pomalidomide was excreted in the milk of lactating rats. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for adverse reactions in a breastfed child from POMALYST, advise women not to breastfeed during treatment with POMALYST.

Females and Males of Reproductive Potential:

Females of reproductive potential must commit either to abstain continuously from heterosexual sexual intercourse or to use 2 methods of reliable birth control simultaneously: one highly effective form of contraception – tubal ligation, IUD, hormonal (birth control pills, injections, hormonal patches, vaginal rings, or implants), or partner’s vasectomy, and 1 additional effective contraceptive method – male latex or synthetic condom, diaphragm, or cervical cap.

Contraception must begin 4 weeks prior to initiating treatment with POMALYST, during therapy, during dose interruptions, and continuing for 4 weeks following discontinuation of POMALYST therapy. Reliable contraception is indicated even where there has been a history of infertility, unless due to hysterectomy. Females of reproductive potential should be referred to a qualified provider of contraceptive methods, if needed.

Pomalidomide is present in the semen of males who take POMALYST. Therefore, males must always use a latex or synthetic condom during any sexual contact with females of reproductive potential while taking POMALYST and for up to 4 weeks after discontinuing POMALYST, even if they have undergone a successful vasectomy. Male patients taking POMALYST must not donate sperm.

Based on findings in animals, female fertility may be compromised by treatment with POMALYST

Pediatric Use: The safety and effectiveness of POMALYST have not been established in pediatric patients. The safety and effectiveness were assessed but not established in two open-label studies: a dose escalation study in 25 pediatric patients aged 5 to <17 with recurrent, progressive or refractory CNS tumors [NCT02415153] and a parallelgroup study conducted in 47 pediatric patients aged 4 to <17 years with recurrent or progressive high-grade glioma, medulloblastoma, ependymoma, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) [NCT03257631]. No new safety signals were observed in pediatric patients across these studies.

Renal Impairment: In patients with severe renal impairment requiring dialysis, the AUC of pomalidomide increased by 38% and the rate of SAE increased by 64% relative to patients with normal renal function; therefore, starting dose adjustment is recommended.For patients with severe renal impairment requiring dialysis, administer POMALYST after the completion of hemodialysis on dialysis days because exposure of pomalidomide could be significantly decreased during dialysis

Hepatic Impairment: Pomalidomide is metabolized primarily by the liver. Following single dose administration, the AUC of pomalidomide increased 51%, 58%, and 72% in subjects with mild (Child-Pugh class A), moderate (Child-Pugh class B), and severe (Child-Pugh class C) hepatic impairment, respectively compared to subjects with normal liver function. Dose adjustment is recommended in patients with hepatic impairment.

Smoking Tobacco: Cigarette smoking reduces pomalidomide AUC due to CYP1A2 induction. Advise patients that smoking may reduce the efficacy of pomalidomide


Hemodialysis can remove pomalidomide from circulation.

Storage and handling

Store at 20°C-25°C (68°F-77°F); excursions permitted to 15°C-30°C (59°F-86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature].

Care should be exercised in handling of POMALYST. Do not open or crush POMALYST capsules. If powder from POMALYST contacts the skin, wash the skin immediately and thoroughly with soap and water. If POMALYST contacts the mucous membranes, flush thoroughly with water. Follow procedures for proper handling and disposal of hazardous drugs.

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