Symptoms and Treatment of Multiple Myeloma

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Case Studies in Hematology - Malignant WBC Disorders. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Symptoms and Treatment of Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma is most frequently found in people over 60, with 70 being the average age of diagnosis.
The disease is sometimes discovered during routine blood work. If the patient presents with symptoms, they can include:
  • bone pain due to the bone involvement
  • frequent infections
  • symptoms of anemia such as fatigue
Other symptoms are fractures with minimal or no trauma, spinal cord compression, weight loss, weakness, feeling very thirsty, and mental confusion. Kidney disease and hypercalcemia can cause mental confusion. Sometimes it results from blood hyperviscosity (a condition often associated with patients with IgM as their M protein).
Some of the treatments available include one or more of the following:
  • conventional chemotherapeutic drugs
  • special drugs such as thalidomide or corticosteroids
  • monoclonal antibody drugs
  • selective inhibitor drugs
  • immune-based targeted therapies
  • autologous stem cell transplantation
  • radiation
  • treatment for the complications such as bone lesions, kidney disease, fractures, infections, etc.