About This Drug
Olaparib is used to treat cancer. It is given orally (by mouth).
Possible Side Effects
- Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding
- Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
- Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
- Changes in the way food and drinks taste
- Constipation (not able to move bowels)
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
- Tiredness and weakness
- Bone, joints and muscle pain
- Back pain
- Upper respiratory infection
- Inflammation of nasal passages and throat
- Changes in your kidney function
Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater of patients treated with olaparib. Not all possible side effects are included above. Side effects may be dependent on whether you are taking olaparib tablet or capsule.
Warnings and Precautions
- This drug may raise your risk of getting a second cancer, such as myelodysplastic syndrome and leukemia.
- Inflammation (swelling) of the lungs. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
- Do not substitute the tablets for the capsules, or the capsules for the tablets.
How to Take Your Medication
- Swallow the medicine whole with or without food twice daily.Do not chew, break, cut, open or crush tablet or capsule. Do not take any capsules which appear damaged.
- Missed dose: If you vomit or miss a dose, take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time
- Handling: Wash your hands after handling your medicine, your caretakers should not handle your medicine with bare hands and should wear latex gloves.
- If any of the capsules are broken, do not touch them with bare hands. Throw away the capsules as instructed and wash your hands afterward.
- This drug may be present in the saliva, tears, sweat, urine, stool, vomit, semen, and vaginal secretions. Talk to your doctor and/or your nurse about the necessary precautions to take during this time.
- Storage: Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature. Discuss with your nurse or your doctor how to dispose of unused medicine.
Treating Side Effects
- Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
- Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
- To help decrease infection, wash your hands regularly.
- Avoid close contact with people who have a cold, the flu, or other infections.
- Take your temperature as your doctor or nurse tells you, and whenever you feel like you may have a fever.
- To help decrease bleeding, use a soft toothbrush. Check with your nurse before using dental floss.
- Be very careful when using knives or tools.
- Use an electric shaver instead of a razor.
- Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
- Taking good care of your mouth may help food taste better and improve your appetite.
- To help with decreased appetite, eat high caloric food such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt and milkshakes.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
- To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help or stop lessen these symptoms.
- Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of routine, gentle cleaning of your teeth or dentures and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water or 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after each meal and at bedtime.
- If you have mouth sores, avoid mouthwash that has alcohol. Also avoid alcohol and smoking because they can bother your mouth and throat.
- If you get diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping.
- Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea or constipation.
- If you are not able to move your bowels, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.
- Get regular exercise. If you feel too tired to exercise vigorously, try taking a short walk
- Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
- If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
Food and Drug Interactions
- Do not eat grapefruit or Seville oranges, or drink grapefruit juice while taking this medicine. Grapefruit, Seville oranges and grapefruit juice may raise the levels of olaparib in your body. This could make side effects worse.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist about all other prescription medicines and dietary supplements you are taking before starting this medicine as there are known drug interactions with olaparib. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplement to make sure that there are no interactions.
- Avoid the use of St. John’s Wort while taking olaparib as this may lower the levels of the drug in your body, which can make it less effective.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:
- Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
- Pain in your chest
- Dry cough
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Coughing up yellow, green, or bloody mucus
- Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
- Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
- Pain in your mouth or throat that makes it hard to eat or drink
- Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities
- Pain that does not go away, or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Decreased urine, or very dark urine
- A new rash or a rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- If you think you may be pregnant or may have impregnated your partner
- Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Women of child bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 6 months after treatment. Men with female partners of child-bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after your cancer treatment. Men should not donate sperm during treatment and for 3 months after treatment. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant or may have impregnated your partner.
- Breastfeeding warning: Women should not breast feed during treatment and for one month after treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breast feeding baby.
- Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
Revised January 2018
This information is intended to provide helpful health information to the general public and is not to be used in place of any medical, health, psychological, or any other kind of personal professional services. The information herein does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the medicines mentioned, nor is the information intended as medical advice for individual problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of taking a particular medication. The dose, method of administration and contraindications for any administered medication should be confirmed before use. UPMC specifically disclaims all responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any medication mentioned herein.