Olaparib (Oral)

Olaparib is a chemotherapy drug that is taken orally to slow the growth of cancer cells in patients with certain kinds of cancers.

Overview

Olaparib is a medication that is available by prescription only to treat advanced ovarian cancer. It is also used to treat recurrent epithelial fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancers. The FDA has recently expanded the approved use of olaparib to treat patients who have had chemotherapy with some kinds of metastatic breast cancer. Olaparib is only used to treat cancer patients who have already had three or more lines of chemotherapy.

Olaparib is a targeted chemotherapy drug that slows the growth of cancer cells in the body by inhibiting certain enzymes (poly [ADP-ribose] and polymerase [PARP]). These enzymes are involved in normal cellular activity in the body as well as the growth of cancerous cells.

Olaparib is a capsule that is taken orally, generally two times per day. It can be taken with or without food.
Olaparib should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you are a woman of child-bearing age, you need to take every possible step to prevent pregnancy while you are taking olaparib and at least one month after your last dose. Talk to your doctor right away if you think you may have become pregnant. If you are breastfeeding, your doctor may instruct you to stop breastfeeding while you are on the medication.

There are many possible side effects with olaparib. Few patients will experience all of the side effects. Some of the side effects that you experience may be severe, and some will likely be mild. Talk to your doctor about any side effects that persist or worsen over time, or any side effects that concern you. Your doctor may be able to help you with ways to lessen the severity of some side effects. If you are having extreme nausea, your doctor may prescribe other medications to help you reduce your nausea. Do not stop taking your medication because of your side effects, unless your doctor or pharmacist instructs you to do so.

Conditions Treated

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Fallopian tube cancer
  • Peritoneal cancer
  • Metastatic breast cancer with BRCA mutation

Type Of Medicine

  • Antineoplastic

Side Effects

All medicines come with the risk of unintended side effects as well as the intended benefit of the drug. If you are concerned about any of the side effects that you are experiencing, talk to your doctor about them. Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to help you with ways to mitigate or prevent some of the side effects that you are experiencing.

If you experience any of the side effects that are listed below, talk to your doctor immediately:

  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Difficult urination
  • Ear pain or congestion
  • Fever or chills
  • Head congestion
  • Hoarseness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Pain in the chest
  • Pain in the lower back or side
  • Pain during urination
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat or coughing
  • Swelling of your glands
  • Troubled breathing during exertion
  • Ulcers, white spots, or sores on your lips or in your mouth
  • Unusually pale skin
  • Unusual sneezing
  • Voice changes

Some side effects do not require medical intervention. However, if any of the following side effects last or get worse, or if they are severe enough to be problematic, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to help you lessen the severity of some side effects.

  • Appetite changes
  • Bad taste in the mouth or fruity mouth odor
  • Belching
  • Burning, numbness, or tingling sensations
  • Constipation
  • Cracked or scaly skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty moving
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fear or nervousness
  • Flushed, dry skin
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Incontinence
  • Increase in thirst
  • Increase in the frequency of urination
  • Mouth swelling or inflammation
  • Nausea or indigestion
  • Pain or stiffness in the joints, back, or muscles
  • Sour stomach
  • Sweating
  • Unsteadiness
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

You may experience other side effects that have not been listed here. If you are concerned about any of the side effects that you are experiencing, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about them.

If you are experiencing extreme nausea side effects, there are other medications that your doctor may prescribe you that can help to control your nausea while you are taking olaparib.

You may also report any side effects that you experience to the FDA at 800-FDA-1080.

Dosage

Your dosage will be determined by your doctor and will depend on information individual to you, such as your weight, the stage of your condition, and your bodyĆ¢'s response to treatment.

A typical dose may be something like this: 400 mg taken two times per day in 50 mg capsules.

Do not change the dosage that you are taking for any reason without first talking to your doctor about it.

Follow your doctor or pharmacistĆ¢'s instructions exactly when taking olaparib. If you do not understand any of the instructions that you have been given, ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information before proceeding.

Swallow olaparib capsules whole. Do not crush, dissolve, break open, or chew them. Doing so will affect their effectiveness. Do not take any capsules that appear damaged or appear to be leaking.

Do not eat grapefruits or Seville oranges, or drink grapefruit juice while taking olaparib.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you are approaching the time when you normally take your next dose, skip the forgotten dose and proceed with your normal dosing schedule. Do not double up on your dosage to make up for the missed dose.

Olaparib capsules may be taken with or without food.

Interactions

Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking before you begin taking olaparib. Do not begin taking any new medications while taking olaparib without asking your doctor first. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as vitamins and herbal supplements.

Do not eat grapefruits or Seville oranges, or drink grapefruit juice while taking olaparib. Doing so can increase your risk of side effects. Seville oranges are a type of orange commonly found in marmalades. If you are unsure whether you can safely eat grapefruits or Seville oranges, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

The following medications are not recommended for use with olaparib. However, taking them together may be necessary sometimes.

  • Boceprevir
  • Aprepitant
  • Carbamazepine
  • Rifabutin
  • Tipranavir
  • Ticagrelor
  • Telithromycin
  • Itraconazole
  • Verapamil
  • Amprenavir
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Atazanavir
  • Enzalutamid
  • Diltiazem
  • Clarithromycin
  • Eslicarbazepine Acetate
  • Telaprevir
  • Erythromycin
  • Dexamethasone
  • Darunavir
  • Fluconazole
  • Fosamprenavir
  • Cobicistat
  • Crizotinib
  • Delavirdine
  • Efavirenz
  • Dronedarone
  • Imatinib
  • Conivaptan
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Abiraterone
  • Idelalisib
  • Miconazole
  • Indinavir
  • Fosaprepitant
  • Mitotane
  • Ketoconazole
  • Nilotinib
  • Mifepristone
  • Nelfinavir
  • Modafinil
  • Phenobarbital
  • Nefazodone
  • Posaconazole
  • Netupitant
  • Nafcillin
  • Nevirapine
  • Prednisone
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Phenytoin
  • Rifampin
  • St John's Wort
  • Ritonavir
  • Prednisolone
  • Primidone
  • Voriconazole
  • Rifapentine
  • Saquinavir

Warnings

This medication is known to decrease bone marrow function. A decrease in bone marrow function can lead to a reduction in the number of blood cells in your body, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This can cause anemia, unusual bruising or bleeding, and hinder your body's ability to fight off infections.

Olaparib can also cause bone marrow problems like myelodysplastic syndrome or acute myeloid leukemia. Tell your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms: unusual fatigue, pale skin, increased breathing or heartbeat, fever, chills, persistent sore throat, easy bruising or bleeding, pink or bloody urine, black or bloody stools, weakness, or unexplained weight loss. Your doctor should monitor your blood cell counts while you are taking olaparib.

If you have any of the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, get medical attention immediately.

Your doctor should be checking your progress regularly while you are taking olaparib. If your doctor is not monitoring your condition, ask him or her to do so. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition in order to determine whether olaparib is working properly and whether you should continue taking it.

You should not take olaparib while you are pregnant. Use birth control to make sure that you do not get pregnant while taking olaparib or at least one month after your last dose of olaparib. If you think you are pregnant while taking olaparib, tell your doctor right away.

Olaparib may also be absorbed through the skin and lungs, so pregnant women should not handle olaparib capsules or breathe the dust produced by the capsules.

It is not known whether olaparib passes into breastmilk. Breastfeeding women should not take olaparib. If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about your options. You may need to stop breastfeeding while you take olaparib.

Share your medical history with your doctor before you begin taking olaparib. Tell your doctor about any medical conditions that you have or have had, especially kidney disease.

Olaparib can increase your chances of getting an infection. Take extra precautions to avoid infection while taking olaparib. Wash your hands frequently, avoid contact with sick people, and do not have any vaccinations or immunizations unless your doctor has instructed you to do so. Avoid contact with people who have recently been immunized with live vaccines. Live vaccines include the inhaled nasal flu vaccine.

You should be cautious when you are using sharp objects and avoid activities that may result in you getting cuts, bruises, or injuries.

Dizziness is a potential side effect of olaparib. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing operations that require you to be alert until you know how olaparib will affect you. Limit your consumption of alcohol, which can exacerbate these effects.

Take this medication exactly as instructed. If you do not understand the instructions you received, ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking the medication.

Swallow olaparib capsules whole. Do not crush, dissolve, break, or chew them.

Tell your doctor about any allergies you have. There is a chance that olaparib contains inactive ingredients that you are allergic to. If you experience the symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.

Storage

Keep your olaparib stored in a closed container at room temperature. Keep it away from direct light, moisture, and heat. Always keep medications out of the reach of children and pets.

Do not use expired medications. When disposing of expired or unused medications, do not flush them down the toilet, pour them in the sink, or throw them in the garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of unused medications safely and appropriately.

Summary

Olaparib is an oral chemotherapy drug that is prescribed to patients with certain kinds of cancers who have already been exposed to other chemotherapy treatments. It works by slowing the growth of cancer cells in the body.

Olaparib is not safe for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you are a woman of child-bearing age, use effective birth control methods to ensure that you do not get pregnant while taking olaparib. Olaparib is dangerous to your fetus. If you suspect that you have become pregnant while taking olaparib, tell your doctor immediately.

There is a risk of side effects from taking olaparib, which range from mild to severe. Talk to your doctor about any severe side effects that you experience, or any side effects that last or get worse over time. Nausea is a common side effect of this medication. Your doctor may be able to help you moderate your nausea from taking olaparib.

Make sure you take olaparib exactly as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. If you do not understand the instructions you received, contact your doctor or pharmacist before taking your medication. Do not change your dose without getting your doctor's permission.