Olaratumab: Uses & Side Effects

Olaratumab is a monoclonal antibody that blocks a certain type of cell receptor in the body that can affect tumor cell growth. Monoclonal antibodies are made to target and destroy only certain cells in the body, which may help slow or stop tumor growth.

Olaratumab is used in combination with another cancer medicine called doxorubicin, to treat adults with soft tissue sarcoma. Olaratumab is used when your condition cannot be treated with surgery or radiation.

Olaratumab was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on an “accelerated” basis. In clinical studies, olaratumab was shown to lengthen survival time. However, further studies are needed to determine if olaratumab is effective in larger numbers of patients with soft tissue sarcoma.

How is olaratumab given?

Olaratumab is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Olaratumab is given in a 21-day treatment cycle. You may receive the medicine only during the first 2 weeks of each cycle, on Day 1 and Day 8 of the full cycle.

The day before you receive olaratumab, you may be given other IV medications to prevent certain side effects.

Olaratumab must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take at least 60 minutes to complete.

For the first 8 treatment cycles, you will also be treated with doxorubicin.

Read all patient information and medication guides provided to you for each of your medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with olaratumab.

Precautions

You should not be treated with olaratumab if you are allergic to it.

To make sure olaratumab is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • diabetes;
  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium in your blood).

You should not receive olaratumab if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using olaratumab and for at least 3 months after your last dose.

It is not known whether olaratumab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Some side effects may occur during the injection. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, light-headed, chilled, flushed, feverish, or short of breath, or if you have a cold sweat, chest tightness, or trouble breathing.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • sores or white patches in or around your mouth, trouble swallowing or talking, dry mouth, bad breath, altered sense of taste;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • fever, cough, cold or flu symptoms;
  • swollen gums;
  • skin sores;
  • trouble breathing.

Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite;
  • feeling tired;
  • muscle or joint pain;
  • numbness, weakness, or pain in your hands or feet;
  • hair loss;
  • headache.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Keyword: olaratumab.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.