About This Drug
Olaratumab is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects
- Hair loss. Hair loss is often temporary, although with certain medicine, hair loss can sometimes be permanent. Hair loss may happen suddenly or gradually. If you lose hair, you may lose it from your head, face, armpits, pubic area, chest, and/or legs. You may also notice your hair getting thin.
- Nausea and throwing up (vomiting).
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
- Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
- Pain in your abdomen area
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
- Muscle and bone pain
- Effects on the nerves are called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and feet. It may be hard for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk as usual. The effect on the nerves may get worse with more doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped but it does not get better in all people.
- Blood sugar levels may change. If you are diabetic, changes may need to be made to your diabetes medication.
- Elevated blood clotting function
- Electrolyte changes. Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes as needed.
- Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, and raise your risk of bleeding.
Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater of patients treated with olaratumab. Not all possible side effects are included above.
Warnings and Precautions
- While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction to the drug. Sometimes you may be given medication to stop or lessen these side effects. Your nurse will check you closely for these signs: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain. These reactions may happen for 24 hours after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
- 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.
Treating Side Effects
- Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
- 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.
- To help with decreased appetite, eat small, frequent meals.
- Eat high caloric food such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt and milkshakes.
- 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 ½ 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 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.
- To help with hair loss, wash your hair with a mild shampoo and avoid washing your hair every day.
- Avoid rubbing your scalp, instead, pat your hair or scalp dry.
- Avoid coloring your hair.
- Limit your use of hair spray, electric curlers, blow dryers, and curling irons.
- If you are interested in getting a wig, talk to your nurse. You can also call the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 to find out information about the “Look Good, Feel Better” program close to where you live. It is a free program where women getting chemotherapy can learn about wigs, turbans and scarves as well as makeup techniques and skin and nail care.
- If you’re diabetic, keep good control of your blood sugar level. Tell your nurse or your doctor if your glucose levels are higher or lower than normal.
- Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
- Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day. Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
- If you have numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.
- Take your temperature as your doctor or nurse tells you, and whenever you feel like you may have a fever.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Avoid close contact with people who have a cold, the flu, or other infections.
- To minimize your risk of 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.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are no known interactions of olaratumab with food.
- This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help.
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
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Headache that does not go away
- Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or lightheadedness
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking, or is not relived by prescribed medicine
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Bad abdominal pain, especially in upper right area
- Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
- Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
- Heavy menstrual period that lasts longer than normal
- Numbness, tingling, decreased feeling or weakness in fingers, toes, arms, or legs
- Abnormal blood sugar
- Rash or itching
- Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Unusual thirst, passing urine often, headache, sweating, shakiness, irritability
- Signs of an infusion reaction such as fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain
- If you think you are pregnant
- Pregnancy warning: This drug can have harmful effects on the unborn baby. It is recommended that effective methods of birth control should be used by women who could become pregnant during cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after treatment.
- Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. It is recommended that women should not breastfeed during treatment and for at least 3 months after treatment.
- Fertility warning: In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations. Genetic counseling may be available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm banking.
New: May 2017