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Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond

Olaratumab

(oh lar AT ue mab)

Trade Name: Lartruvo™

Olaratumab is the generic name for the trade name, Lartruvo™. In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name, Lartruvo™, when referring to the generic drug name, olaratumab.

Drug Type: Olaratumab is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic" or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug. This medication is classified as a platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFR-α) blocking anti-body (For more detail see "How olaratumab Works" below).

What Olaratumab Is Used For:

  • Olaratumab is used in combination with doxorubicin for the treatment of adult patients with soft tissue sarcoma (STS) with a histologic subtype for which an anthracycline-containing regimen is appropriate and which is not amendable to curative treatment with radiation or surgery.

Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.

How Olaratumab Is Given:

  • Olaratumab is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion over 60 minutes on days 1 and 8 of each 21-day cycle until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. For the first 8 cycles, olaratumab is administered with doxorubicin. You will receive pre-medications (diphenhydramine & dexamethasone) prior to the start of the olaratumab infusion on day 1 of cycle 1.

The amount of olaratumab that you will receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other problems, and the type of cancer or condition you have. You doctor will determine you exact dosage and schedule.

Side Effects:

Important things to remember about the side effects of olaratumab:

  • Most people will not experience all of the olaratumab side effects listed.
  • Olaratumab side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset, duration, and severity.
  • Olaratumab side effects may improve after therapy is complete.
  • Olaratumab side effects may be manageable. There may be options to minimize the side effects of olaratumab.

The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking olaratumab:

These are less common side effects (occurring in 10-29%) for patients receiving olaratumab:

Not all side effects are listed above. Side effects that are rare - occurring in less than about 10 percent of patients - are not listed here. But you should always inform your health care provider if you experience an unusual symptoms.

When to Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider:

Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4º F (38º C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection)

The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:

  • Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
  • Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period)
  • Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools
  • Blood in the urine
  • Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
  • Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
  • Signs of infection such as redness or swelling, sore throat, pain in ear or sinuses, coughing up mucous, or painful urination.
  • Unable to eat or drink for 24 hours or have signs of dehydration: tiredness, thirst, dry mouth, dark and decrease amount of urine, or dizziness
  • Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, hungrier, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
  • Burning, numbness, or tingling in hands or feet.
  • Signs of an electrolyte problem like confusion, mood changes, muscle pain or weakness, abnormal heart beat, seizures or nausea and vomiting.

Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

Precautions:

  • Before starting olaratumab treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.).
  • Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin unless your doctor specifically permits this.
  • Tell all of your health care providers that you are taking olaratumab. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval while taking olaratumab.
  • Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. This drug must not be given to a pregnant woman or a woman who intends to become pregnant. If a woman becomes pregnant while taking olaratumab, the medication must be stopped immediately. Based on its mechanism of action, olaratumab would be expected to cause fetal harm if administered to a pregnant woman. Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted.
  • For both men and women: Use contraceptives, and do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking olaratumab. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended for up to 3 months after last dose of olaratumab.
  • Do not breast feed while taking olaratumab.

Self-Care Tips:

  • Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
  • You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds or those not feeling well, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • To help treat/prevent mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush, and rinse three times a day with 1 teaspoon of baking soda or salt mixed with 8 ounces of water.
  • Use an electric razor and a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
  • Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
  • To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
  • Follow regimen of anti-diarrhea medication as prescribed by your health care professional.
  • Eat foods that may help reduce diarrhea (see managing side effects - diarrhea).
  • Keep your bowels moving. Your health care provider may prescribe a stool softener to help prevent constipation that may be caused by this medicine.
  • Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 30 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
  • In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
  • Get plenty or rest.
  • Maintain good nutrition.
  • Remain active as you are able. Gentle exercise is encouraged such as a daily walk.
  • If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.

Monitoring and Testing:

You will be checked regularly by your doctor while you are taking olaratumab, to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy. Periodic blood work will be obtained to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other organs (such as your kidneys and liver) will also be ordered by your doctor.

How Olaratumab Works:

Targeted therapy is the result of about 100 years of research dedicated to understanding the differences between cancer cells and normal cells. To date, cancer treatment has focused primarily on killing rapidly dividing cells because one feature of cancer cells is that they divide rapidly. Unfortunately some of our normal cells divide rapidly too, cause multiple side effects.

Targeted therapy is about identifying other features of cancer cells. Scientists look for specific differences in the cancer cells and the normal cells. This information is used to create a targeted therapy to attack the cancer cells without damaging the normal cells, thus leading to fewer side effects. Each type of targeted therapy works a little bit differently but all interfere with the ability of the cancer cell to grow, divide, repair and/or communicate with other cells.

There are different types of targeted therapies, defined in three broad categories. Some targeted therapies focus on the internal components and function of the cancer cell. The targeted therapies use small molecules that can get into the cell and disrupt the function of the cells, causing them to die. There are several types of targeted therapy that focus on the inner part of the cells. Other targeted therapies target receptors that are on the outside of the cell. Therapies that target receptors are also known as monoclonal antibodies. Antiangiogenesis inhibitors target the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the cells, ultimately causing the cells to starve.

Researchers agree that targeted therapies are not a replacement for traditional therapies. They may be best used in combination with traditional therapies. More research is needed to identify which cancers may be best treated with targeted therapies and to identify additional targets for more types of cancer.

Olaratumab is a human (recombinant) igG1 antibody which expressly binds to platelet-derived growth receptor alpha (PDGRF-α) to prevent binding of PDGF-AA, PDGF-BB, and PDGF-CC and block receptor activation and disrupt PDGF receptor signaling. The PDGF-alpha receptor has a roll in cell differentiation, growth, and angiogenesis and has demonstrated antitumor activity in sarcomas.

Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.

Reference:

Olaratumab. Lexicomp Online® Lexi-Drugs®. Hudson, Ohio: Lexi-Comp, Inc.; January 22, 2016.

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