The multiple myeloma drug bortezomib (Velcade) has been licensed for subcutaneous administration.
The proteasome inhibitor was initially licensed only for intravenous use.
The European Commission’s decision to approve subcutaneous in addition to intravenous administration was based on results from a trial involving 222 patients with relapsed multiple myeloma.
The results, published in the Lancet Oncology in May 2011, showed subcutaneous bortezomib was non-inferior in terms of efficacy to intravenous administration, but had an improved safety profile.
Manufacturer Janssen said subcutaneous injections were administered at 2.5 mg/mL to limit the volume injected.
This was a higher concentration than used intravenously, which meant the same amount of medication was delivered through a smaller volume.
Charlotte Bloodworth, myeloma and lymphoma clinical nurse specialist at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, said: “Subcutaneous administration of Velcade will be much easier and more convenient for both nurses and patients alike.
“Myeloma patients can have quite difficult veins to access, and subcutaneous administration completely removes the necessity to cannulate, which can be time-consuming for us, and painful for them.”
She added: “There is a lot less wastage with subcutaneous administration too, as there is no need to use expensive additional equipment such as giving sets. I think it will now become the preferred route of administration for nurses.”