Gallium Ga 68 Dotatate (Intravenous)

Gallium Ga 68 dotatate is used in hospitals when PET scans are being carried out on children and adults.

Overview

Gallium Ga 68 dotatate is known under its brand name Netspot in the US. The drug is only used in certain medical clinics and hospitals where it is only administered to patients by appropriately trained medical professionals.

This medication is used during PET scanning procedures in both children and adults. PET scanning (positron emission tomography) is used to diagnose and treat certain conditions of the body's organs. In the case of gallium Ga 68 dotatate, an injection is given to patients prior to a PET scan in order to localize the positive somatostatin receptors in NETs (neuroendocrine tumors).

This drug is one of a number of medicines called radiopharmaceuticals. These medicines are radioactive agents. They are always administered by doctors who are trained in nuclear medicine.

Gallium Ga 68 dotatate will not necessarily cure your condition, but its use may be a key proponent in diagnosing it.

Conditions treated

  • Diagnostic tool used in PET scans

Type of medicine

  • Intravenous solution
  • Radiopharmaceutical

Side effects

In addition the effects that it is designed to produce, gallium Ga 68 dotatate can cause a few undesirable effects. Not every patient who is treated with this medicine will notice any of these effects, but if they do affect you, you should ask your treating physician for advice, as the effects could require further medical treatment.

You should ask your nurse or doctor's advice right away if you experience any of the side effects that are mentioned below, following your treatment with gallium Ga 68 dotatate.

  • Feelings of unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Skin rashes
  • Swelling or puffiness around the eyes, of the eyelids, lips, face, or tongue
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Cough

This is not an exhaustive list of all the side effects that have been reported by patients receiving treatment with this medicine. If you notice any other undesirable effects, check with your nurse or another member of your treating team.

Some side effects disappear without further treatment as your body removes the drug from its system naturally. However, if any side effects prove to be persistent or start getting worse, mention them to your doctor straight away.

Naturally resolving side effects include reactions that you may notice around your injection site. These include skin irritation, swelling, itching or bleeding. Tell your nurse if these effects do not clear up within 24 hours.

If you think that your condition has become worse following treatment with gallium Ga 68 dotatate, tell your doctor right away.

Dosage

Gallium Ga 68 dotatate is only administered by a trained medical professional in a hospital or medical clinic. The drug is given to you via a needle that will be placed intravenously, immediately before your PET scan.

Be sure that you drink plenty of water to ensure that you are well-hydrated before undergoing a PET scan. Due to the volume of water that you must consume, you will find that you want to urinate immediately following your scan. You should also try to urinate frequently for an hour or so following the scan. This ensures that the drug will be flushed from your body.

Interactions

Drug interactions

Some drugs must never be used at the same time, as this could cause a serious interaction to take place between them. However, in some cases, the treating physician may decide that using both drugs is the right strategy for your treatment, despite the fact that there may be an interaction. If you are taking any medication that could interact with gallium Ga 68 dotatate, your treating physician may change the dose or temporarily suspend your use of one or more of your regular medications.

Although there are no serious drug interactions recorded for this drug, you must tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including over the counter drugs, herbal remedies, vitamin supplements, or diet pills, before you begin your treatment with gallium Ga 68 dotatate.

Other interactions

There are some drugs that should not be used when you are eating or eating particular food types or groups, as this could cause an interaction to take place. In addition, the use of tobacco or alcohol with certain medicines can cause undesirable effects and interactions to occur. Before you agree to treatment with gallium Ga 68 dotatate, you should discuss these facets of your therapy with your treating physician.

Warnings

Before you decide to have diagnostic tests that involve the use of gallium Ga 68 dotatate, you should take the time to consider the risks as well as the benefits of doing so. This decision should be taken following in-depth discussions with your doctor. Bear in mind that other things could affect the results of the tests, and with this in mind, you should consider the information contained in this section of the medication guide.

Allergies

You must mention to your treating physician if you have ever noticed any allergic or bad reactions to gallium Ga 68 dotatate or to any other prescription medicine. Be sure to mention allergies that you have to over the counter products, including painkillers, cough and cold remedies, vitamins, and herbal remedies.

Tell your doctor if you are allergic or especially sensitive to particular food groups, food colors, preservatives, or animal derivatives.

Pediatric

There is nothing to suggest that using gallium Ga 68 dotatate in children could be harmful. However, be sure to discuss any concerns that you may have with your child's doctor before treatment.

Geriatric

As far as can be determined, the use of gallium Ga 68 dotatate in elderly patients does not present any geriatric-specific risk.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Research has not shown that gallium Ga 68 dotatate presents any risk to a pregnant women or to her unborn baby. Pregnant women may wish to discuss this with their treating medic before undergoing treatment with this drug.

It is not thought that this medicine is contained in breast milk where it could pass to the nursing infant. If you are breastfeeding, you may wish to discuss the possible risks and benefits of doing so with your GP or midwife, before starting treatment with gallium Ga 68 dotatate. Based on these discussions, you may decide to temporarily stop breastfeeding until after your treatment with this medicine has been concluded.

Medical complications

While you are having PET scan diagnostic testing and are receiving treatment with gallium Ga 68 dotatate, you will be required to see your treating medical team on a regular basis. These meetings are necessary for your medical team monitor your progress and to discuss any side effects that the medication may have caused.

Some patients with sensitive skin do experience some localized reactions around the injection site. These effects should dissipate within 24 hours of receiving the medicine. However, if your skin is still itchy, red, weeping, or otherwise sensitive after this time, you should check with your doctor.

While you are being treated with this drug, you will exposed to small doses of radiation during the PET scanning process. This aspect of therapy can be of concern to some patients. Be sure to pose any questions about this aspect of your treatment to your treating physician.

Storage

You will not be required to store gallium Ga 68 dotatate in your home. The medication is for use in hospitals and clinics only, where it will be stored in an appropriate facility.

Summary

Gallium Ga 68 dotatate given to patients undergoing PET scans. PET scans are used to diagnose conditions of the body's organs and to monitor ongoing treatment of those conditions. Consequently, this medication is only administered in hospital by a trained medical professional, immediately before your scan.

Although gallium Ga 68 dotatate causes few notable side effects and does not cause interactions with any prescription or over the counter drugs, it is a radiopharmaceutical and as such is used during tests that expose the patient to small amounts of radiation. If this is of concern to you, you should speak with a member of your medical team before your tests begin.

Throughout the course of your treatment, and during tests where this drug is used, you will be required to attend your treating physician for regular check-ups. These appointments are important as they allow your doctor to monitor your progress, appraise you of any test results, and discuss any unwanted effects that your treatment may be causing.

It is important to note that gallium Ga 68 dotatate will not provide a cure for your condition, but its use may be essential in enabling your medical team to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.