Olaparib (PARP inhibitors) – Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Olaparib (PARP inhibitors) - Ovarian Cancer Treatment

In this article, you will find information about the Olaparib (PARP inhibitors), first oral prescription medicine for women with BRCA-mutated advanced ovarian cancer which was approved in 2014.

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most frequent cancer and seventh most prevalent cause of cancer death in women worldwide. PARP (poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase) inhibitors are a unique type of medication that works by inhibiting cancer cells from repairing their DNA once they have been destroyed by other chemotherapy agents.

PARP inhibitors give a hopeful option for targeted therapy in ovarian cancer and have an explicit advantage in BRCA mutation carriers. Olaparib is the leading in a brand new class of cancer drug called PARP inhibitors.

What is Olaparib?

Olaparib is a treatment for ovarian cancer, also called by its brand name Lynparza. It is an FDA-approved targeted therapy for cancer, developed by KuDOS Pharmaceuticals and later by AstrsZeneca.

Olaparib is a sort of biological therapy drug called a PARP-1 inhibitor. PARP inhibitors work by exploiting a defect some cancers have in a particular type of DNA repair. Because healthy cells don’t have this defect, olaparib is able to target and kill cancer cells more specifically than normal chemotherapy drugs can.

Olaparib (PARP inhibitors) - Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Olaparib (PARP inhibitors) Mechanism Of Action

Targeted therapy is an outcome of about 100 years of investigation dedicated to understanding the differences between normal cells and cancer cells. Cancer treatment till now has concentrated primarily on the destruction of rapidly dividing cells because one feature of cancer cells is that they divide rapidly. Unluckily, some of our normal cells divide rapidly too, causing multiple side effects.

Targeted therapy is about recognizing other characteristics of cancer cells. Researchers look for particular differences in the cancer cells and the normal cells and then used this information to create a targeted therapy to attack the cancer cells without harming the normal cells. All kind of targeted therapy works a bit differently but all intervene the ability of the cancer cell to grow, divide, repair and interact with other cells.

Olaparib Mechanism Of Action

Olaparib is a targeted therapy. It is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) enzyme inhibitor, including PARP1, PARP2, and PARP3. PARP enzymes are included in DNA transcription, DNA repair and cell cycle management. Olaparib is an effective oral PARP inhibitor which cause artificial mortality in BRCA 1/2 deficient tumor cells by the generation of double-stranded DNA breaks which cannot be correctly repaired, which leads to splitting of cellular homeostasis and cell death.

Olaparib Dosage

Olaparib comes as capsules and suggested up to 8 capsules which have to be taken 2 times a day, 12 hours apart.

Olaparib capsules need to be taken one hour after eating. And after taking olaparib one should wait at least 2 hours before eating again. It is very important to take the capsules according to the doctor or pharmacist instructions.

It is important to have blood tests before starting treatment and regularly during your treatment. They also check the proper functioning of liver and kidneys.

Olaparib Side Effects

Olaparib may have a few side effects. They may be moderate to more severe. A side effect may get better or worse while treatment. Or more side effects may develop as the course goes on. This all depends on, How many times you’ve had the drug before, Your general health and drug dosage.

The side effects may be different if you are having olaparib with other medicines. the common side effects of Olaparib are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness and breathlessness from a drop in red blood cells (anaemia).
  • Diarrhoea
  • An increased risk of getting an infection from a drop in white blood cells – it is harder to fight infections and the patient can become very ill. There may be headaches, aching muscles, a cough, a sore throat, pain passing urine, or cold and shivery feeling. In a case of severe infection, this can be life threatening.
  • Tiredness and weakness during and after treatment
  • Feeling or being sick which is usually well controlled with medicines
  • Indigestion occurs
  • Dizziness
  • Kidney disorders

Occasional Side Effects

In 1-10 out of 100 people get one or more of these side effects

  • Bruising more easily from a drop in platelets, nose bleeding, or bleeding gums after brushing. Or many tiny red spots or bruises on arms or legs
  • Pain in the upper part of stomach, under ribs
  • A sore mouth

Some rarely found side effects of olaparib are:

  • Inflammation of the lungs which cause shortness of breath.
  • A blood disorder which causes a drop in number of normal blood cells (myelodysplastic syndrome) or blood cancers (acute myeloid leukaemia)

Points to Remember

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about all your side effects so that they can help you manage them.

Other Medicines

Some drugs can react together so inform the doctor about any other medicines including vitamins, herbal supplements etc.

Pregnancy and family planning

Olaparib may harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while having this drug.


Breastfeeding during this treatment is dangerous because the drug may come through in the breast milk.

Hopefully, the above-given article proves to be helpful for educational purpose. Talk your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments.

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