This leaflet provides information on a course of treatment called olaparib. The leaflet will explain what this is and when and how it will be given. It will also tell you about common side effects that you may experience. Contact telephone numbers are given at the end of the leaflet.
What is olaparib?
Olaparib is a cancer treatment which is given as tablets or capsules
Why am I having olaparib?
Olaparib has been found to help some patients with your type of cancer.
How often will I see the specialist team?
You will see the specialist team regularly. You will have regular blood tests and we will check how you are feeling and discuss any problems you may have. This is so we can check how the treatment is affecting you.
Can I bring relatives and friends with me?
You are welcome to bring someone to stay with you during your treatment. Space is limited so there is not usually room for more than one person. Treatment areas are not suitable for young children.
How should I take the Olaparib ?
Olaparib should be taken twice a day. Try to take at approximately the same time every day.
The tablets/capsules should be swallowed whole with a glass of water.
They must not be chewed or crushed.
How many olaparib tablets/capsules will I need to take?
The amount you need to take will be clearly marked on the box.
What should I do if I forget to take my Olaparib?
Leave the dose you have missed and take the next dose as usual.
What if I take too many tablets/capsules?
Please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Please ask for the treatment helpline.
How should I store the Olaparib?
Tablets/capsules should be stored in their original packaging and in a safe place away from children.
Follow instructions from pharmacy regarding storage of tablets and capsules.
Any unused Olaparib should be returned to the hospital pharmacy or your local chemist for safe disposal.
What are the possible side effects?
This treatment is usually well tolerated but there are some possible side effects that you need to be aware of. The doctors, nurses and pharmacists can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.
You may experience nausea and vomiting with olaparib. We will give you anti sickness tablets to take if you need them. If you are sick more than once in 24 hours despite taking regular anti-sickness medicine, contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
You may have diarrhoea with this treatment. If this occurs it is important that you drink plenty of fluids. You may have to take loperamide tablets to control diarrhoea. If you have four or more bowel movements in 24 hours above what is normal for you please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Your mouth may become sore or you may notice small ulcers. Your doctor may prescribe mouthwashes or medication to help with this.
Loss of appetite
You may experience a loss of appetite and some people may feel sick whilst taking olaparib but this can usually be well controlled with anti sickness medication. If you are sick more than once in 24 hours despite taking regular anti-sickness medicine, you should stop taking your olaparib
tablets/capsules and contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
You are at an increased risk of picking up infections because your white blood cells which help fight infections can be reduced by this treatment.
If you develop an infection whilst your white blood cells are low, you are at risk of sepsis, this can be life threatening.
Contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately if you develop any signs of infection, for example flu like symptoms or a temperature above 37.5°centigrade or if your temperature is below 35.5°. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
It is common for your sense of taste to change when on this treatment. Sometimes mouthwashes can help.
Low blood counts
Olaparib can affect your blood count. Occasionally, this may require a blood transfusion or increase your risk of bleeding. If you notice unusual bruising or bleeding, please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
A diagnosis of cancer can increase your risk of developing a blood clot (thrombosis), and having cancer treatment may increase this risk further. It is important to tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms such as pain, redness and swelling in your leg, or breathlessness and chest pain.
Blood clots can be very serious. However, most clots can usually be successfully treated with drugs to thin the blood. Your doctor or nurse can give you more information
Other side effects and information
Some people may experience problems with headaches and dizziness. Try taking the painkillers you would normally take for a headache. If you find that painkillers do not help or you have any problems with your vision please tell your doctor or nurse.
Some patients experience indigestion and/or upper abdominal pain, if this causes you problems, ring Velindre Cancer Centre, and inform when next in clinic.
Very rarely some people having olaparib may experience breathing problems caused by the tablets. If you notice shortness of breath, cough or any breathing problems, please contact your doctor or specialist nurse. You will be monitored at regular clinic visits.
It is important you do not become pregnant or father a child whilst having treatment or for at least 1 month afterwards. This is because olaparib could damage the unborn baby.
Is it alright to take other medicines?
If you are taking other medicines please let your doctor, nurse or pharmacist know. There are a small number of medicines that you may have to avoid.
Sometimes cancer drugs can have very serious side effects which rarely can be life threatening. It is important to inform Velindre cancer centre if you are concerned about any side-effects.
Contact telephone numbers
Velindre Cancer Centre 029 2061 5888
For urgent advice at any time of the day or night please ask for the treatment helpline
Pharmacy department 029 2061 5888 ext 6223
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm for queries about your medicines
Tenovus freephone 0808 808 1010
Macmillan freephone Helpline 0808 808 0000
Manufacturer’s patient information leaflets
Velindre leaflets provide information about very common and commonly reported side-effects (we are unable to list all of the common side effects), for more information regarding these and the less common side-effects please refer to the manufacturers patient information leaflets, obtained from Velindre pharmacy and/or on the internet at www.medicines.org.uk. Sometimes patients may find these leaflets difficult to read however. Please ask if you would like a copy from your doctor or from Velindre pharmacy
This leaflet was written by health professionals. The information contained in this leaflet is evidence based. It has been approved by doctors, nurses and patients. It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.