This leaflet provides information on a course of treatment called Rucaparib.
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 Rucaparib?
Rucaparib is a cancer treatment which is given as tablets. It is not chemotherapy, it is a targeted therapy. It works by preventing the altered or incorrect genetic changes in the cancer cells to be repaired and therefore helps to destroy the cancer cells.
At present, Rucaparib is unlicensed for use in the UK. There may be unknown side-effects to the drug. Your oncologist will go through a consent form with you and be responsible for monitoring you for any side-effects and will liase with the drug company as needed.
Why am I having Rucaparib?
Rucaparib 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 every 4 weeks. 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 Rucaparib tablets?
Rucaparib tablets should be taken twice a day. Try to take them at approximately the same time every day. You can take the tablets with or without food. The tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. They must not be chewed or crushed.
How many Rucaparib tablets will I need to take?
The amount you need to take will be clearly marked on the box. Sometimes your doctor may need to alter the amount of tablets you take; for example if you develop side-effects.
What should I do if I forget to take my tablets?
What if I take too many tablets?
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 tablets?
Your tablets should be stored in their original packaging and in a safe place away from children. They should be kept in a cool dry place (between 20-25oC).
Any unused tablets 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.
Low blood counts
Rucaparib 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.
You may experience nausea with Rucaparib. We will give you anti sickness tablets to take if you need them. However, if your nausea is uncontrolled or you vomit 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.
Tiredness and fatigue
Rucaparib can make you feel more tired than usual. It is important to listen to your body and rest if you need to, but carry out your normal activities if you feel able. Some people find it beneficial to take gentle exercise as well as taking rest.
Loss of appetite:
You may experience a loss of appetite and taste changes which may affect your appetite. Discuss this with your doctor when in clinic.
Diarrhoea or constipation:
Rucaparib can cause either diarrhoea or constipation. If you have diarrhoea it is important that you drink plenty of fluids. If you have 4 episodes of diarrhoea more than is normal for you, telephone the treatment helpline. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
If you have constipation it may be relieved by drinking plenty of fluids and eating lots of fibre. Your doctor can prescribe medication to relieve constipation if needed.
Your mouth may become sore or you may notice small ulcers. Your doctor may prescribe mouthwashes or medication to help with this.
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. Contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately if you develop any signs of infection, for example flu like symptoms or signs of a cold. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Itching and rash:
Rucaparib may cause itching or a rash. Apply cream to the affected area. If this becomes sore or painful telephone the treatment helpline. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Sore hands and feet:
Some patients may experience tingling, redness, burning or flaking of hands and feet. Apply ice and elevate. Telephone the treatment helpline if this affects your ability to do your buttons or activities or if you have swelling or blistering
Sensitivity to the sun :
Rucaparib can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. It is best to avoid strong sunlight, wear a hat and use a sun block. Also, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes in the sun.
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
Sometimes patients experience dizziness, if this occurs do not drive or operate machinery.
Some patients experience indigestion and/or upper abdominal pain, if this causes you problems, telephone Velindre Cancer Centre and inform when next in clinic.
Very rarely some people having Rucaparib may experience breathing problems caused by the tablets. If you notice shortness of breath, cough or any breathing problems, please telephone the treatment helpline or 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 6 months afterwards. This is because Rucaparib could damage the unborn baby. You should not breastfeed whilst taking Rucabarib.
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. Do not take any over the counter medicines, vitamins or herbal supplements.
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
7 days a week 8am – 8pm for general queries on cancer
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.