If you have a certain kind of cancer, your doctor may recommend treatment with Lynparza. It’s a prescription drug used in adults to treat certain kinds of:
Lynparza comes as a tablet you swallow and contains the active ingredient olaparib. (The active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) It belongs to a group of drugs called poly ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitors.
Olaparib is a kind of biologic drug. A biologic is made from parts of living organisms. Lynparza is not available in a biosimilar form. (Biosimilars are like generic drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for nonbiologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs.) So olaparib is available only as the brand-name drug Lynparza.
Keep reading to learn more about Lynparza, including its side effects, uses for prostate cancer and other conditions, cost, and more.
Like most drugs, Lynparza may cause mild to serious side effects. While the lists below describe some of the more common ones, they do not include all possible side effects.
Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:
- your age
- other health conditions you have
- other medications you take
Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Lynparza. They can also suggest ways to help reduce them.
Mild side effects
Below are some of the mild side effects Lynparza can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read the drug’s prescribing information.
Keep in mind that side effects can vary slightly depending on whether you’re taking Lynparza by itself or with other anticancer drugs.
Mild side effects of Lynparza that have been reported include:
- altered taste in your mouth
- decreased appetite
- fatigue (low energy)
- loss of appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- respiratory tract infection, such as the common cold or the flu
- shortness of breath
- upset stomach
Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they don’t or if they are bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Lynparza can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Lynparza, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects of Lynparza that have been reported include:
- blood cell problems, including:
- low lymphocyte count
- blood clots
- high blood pressure
- inflammation in your lungs
- severe blood disorders, including:
- allergic reaction (see the “Allergic reaction” section just below for more information)
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Lynparza. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Lynparza is used to treat certain kinds of prostate cancer in adults.
Specifically, Lynparza is prescribed for prostate cancer that has the following characteristics:
- It’s metastatic, which means the cancer has spread beyond the prostate to other parts of your body.
- It’s castration-resistant, which means that drugs to reduce testosterone or surgery to remove your testicles hasn’t worked to treat the cancer.
- It has abnormal genes called homologous recombination repair (HRR) genes.
- It has stopped responding to or worsened after treatment with either:
- enzalutamide (Xtandi)
- abiraterone (Yonsa, Zytiga)
Before prescribing Lynparza, your doctor will order a test to determine if your prostate cancer has abnormal HRR genes.
Lynparza treats metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer with abnormal HRR genes. It does this by blocking the action of specific enzymes (proteins that speed up reactions in your body). Blocking these enzymes damages cancer cells, causing them to die.
In addition to treating prostate cancer, Lynparza is also used to treat certain other conditions in adults. Lynparza treats the following cancers by blocking the action of specific enzymes (proteins that speed up reactions in your body). Blocking these enzymes damages cancer cells, causing them to die.
Lynparza for ovarian cancer
- has been treated with three or more chemotherapy drugs (traditional drugs used to treat cancer), or
- is also homologous recombination deficiency-positive (HRD-positive)
HRD-positive refers to a specific kind of cancer caused by an abnormal BRCA gene. For this purpose, Lynparza is used as ongoing treatment along with bevacizumab (Avastin) after your cancer has improved following treatment with first-line chemotherapy made from platinum. (“First-line” means it’s the preferred first treatment for certain conditions.)
It’s also used as maintenance (ongoing) therapy for the following:
- Cancer that’s improved following treatment with first-line chemotherapy made from platinum.
- Recurrent ovarian cancer that has completely or partially responded to chemotherapy made from platinum. (“Recurrent” means the cancer has returned after it’s been treated.)
Before prescribing Lynparza, your doctor will order a test to determine if your ovarian cancer has an abnormal BRCA gene that may respond to Lynparza.
* This means the cancer has an abnormal change in the BRCA gene.
Lynparza for breast cancer
Lynparza is used in adults to treat breast cancer with the following characteristics:
- it’s metastatic, and
- it’s HER2-negative, and
- it’s BRCA-positive (or thought to be BRCA-positive), and
- it has been treated with chemotherapy in the past
Before prescribing Lynparza, your doctor will order a test to determine if your breast cancer has these characteristics and might respond to this treatment.
If your breast cancer is hormone receptor-positive, you should receive endocrine (hormone) therapy before you start Lynparza. (Unless your doctor determines this kind of therapy isn’t appropriate for your cancer.)
Lynparza for pancreatic cancer
Lynparza is used in adults to treat pancreatic cancer that:
- is metastatic (has spread beyond your pancreas)
- is BRCA-positive (or thought to be BRCA-positive)
- hasn’t gotten worse after being treated for at least 16 weeks with first-line chemotherapy made from platinum
For this use, Lynparza is given as maintenance (ongoing) therapy. Before prescribing this drug, your doctor will order a test to determine if your pancreatic cancer has the characteristics listed above and might respond to Lynparza treatment.
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Lynparza.
Does Lynparza cause weight gain, hair loss, or bloating?
Weight gain wasn’t a side effect reported in Lynparza’s studies.
If you notice symptoms of bloating or hair loss while taking Lynparza, let your doctor know. They may be able to recommend a treatment for the side effect.
Should I avoid sun exposure while taking Lynparza?
Lynparza isn’t known to cause photosensitivity (extreme sensitivity to sunlight). This wasn’t reported in the drug’s studies. But other medications used to treat cancer, including some chemotherapy drugs (traditional drugs used to treat cancer), can cause sun sensitivity as a side effect.
Keep in mind that Lynparza is sometimes used with chemotherapy drugs. It’s also prescribed in some cases after your cancer has been treated with chemotherapy. So it’s possible that chemotherapy you receive or have received could cause sensitivity to sunlight.
Your doctor can tell you more about whether you should avoid sun exposure based on other drugs you may take for cancer.
Are there long-term side effects of Lynparza?
It’s possible for Lynparza to cause long-term side effects. These are side effects that last a long time, or those that can start after taking Lynparza for a long time.
Long-term side effects possible with Lynparza include:
- severe blood disorders, including:
- blood clots
- pneumonitis (inflammation in your lungs), which can cause permanent scarring
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’d like to learn more about long-term side effects and Lynparza.
How does Lynparza work? Is it a chemotherapy drug?
Lynparza’s mechanism of action (how the drug works) to treat certain cancers is to block the action of specific enzymes. (Enzymes are proteins that speed up reactions in your body.) Blocking these enzymes damages cancer cells, causing them to die.
What was Lynparza’s effectiveness for treating cancer in clinical trials?
To view Lynparza’s effectiveness for treating cancer in studies, check out the drug’s full prescribing information. You can also view this page from Lynparza’s manufacturer about the drug’s effectiveness for treating ovarian and breast cancer.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you still have questions.
Will my doctor check my CA-125 level during Lynparza treatment?
Maybe. It depends on the kind of cancer you’re taking Lynparza to treat.
Doctors sometimes order a blood test called CA-125 for people with certain kinds of ovarian cancer. CA-125 is a protein made by and found on ovarian cancer cells. This blood test may be used to monitor ovarian cancer during and after treatment.
Keep in mind that other causes besides cancer can create a high CA-125 level, including menstruation or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Your doctor can tell you more about blood tests they’ll order while you’re taking Lynparza, including whether they’ll test your CA-125 level.
Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on factors such as what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. So the annual cost of Lynparza may vary.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Lynparza manufacturer’s website to see if it has support options. You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.
Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Lynparza that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
Form and strengths
Lynparza comes as a tablet you swallow. It’s available in two strengths:
- 100 milligrams (mg)
- 150 mg
You’ll take Lynparza twice per day.
Questions about Lynparza’s dosage
Below are some common questions about Lynparza’s dosage.
- What if I miss a dose of Lynparza? If you miss a dose of Lynparza, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take more than one Lynparza dose at once.
- Will I need to take Lynparza long term? You’ll likely take Lynparza long term if you and your doctor agree the drug is safe and working for you.
- How long does Lynparza take to work? Lynparza begins working as soon as you take a dose, but you won’t “feel” it working. Your doctor can tell you more about how they’ll monitor your cancer to determine if this drug is treating it successfully.
Lynparza and Zejula are both poly ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitors used to treat certain kinds of ovarian cancer. Lynparza is also used to treat other kinds of breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.
Both Lynparza and Zejula come as pills you swallow. These two drugs can cause many of the same side effects, but some different ones as well.
To learn more about these medications, check out this side-by-side comparison. You can talk with your doctor to determine if Lynparza or Zejula is right for you.
Lynparza and Rubraca are both poly ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitors used to treat certain kinds of ovarian and prostate cancer. Lynparza is also used to treat other kinds of breast and pancreatic cancer.
Both Lynparza and Rubraca come as tablets you swallow. They can cause many of the same side effects, but some different ones as well.
If you’d like to know more about the similarities and differences between Lynparza and Rubraca, see this article. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment option for your condition.
There are important things you should discuss with your doctor before you start treatment with Lynparza. Be sure to tell them about your overall health, any medical conditions you may have, and all the medications you take.
Taking a drug with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.
Before taking Lynparza, talk with your doctor about all the medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter kinds. You should also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Lynparza.
For information about drug-condition interactions, see the “Warnings” section below.
Interactions with drugs or supplements
Several kinds of drugs can interact with Lynparza and affect the level of it in your body. This can increase your risk of side effects or cause Lynparza to not work. Due to these interactions, doctors usually will not prescribe Lynparza with the following:
- certain antifungal drugs, including:
- fluconazole (Diflucan)
- certain HIV drugs, including:
- certain antibiotics, including clarithromycin
- certain drugs for epilepsy, including:
- the herbal supplement St. John’s wort
This list does not contain all kinds of drugs that may interact with Lynparza. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur with Lynparza.
Lynparza may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions. These are known as drug-condition interactions. Other factors may also affect whether Lynparza is a good treatment option for your condition. Talk with your doctor about your health history before taking this drug. Factors to consider include those shown below.
- Kidney problems. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you have kidney problems, such as chronic kidney disease, before starting Lynparza. You may need to take a lower dose of the drug. But if your kidney problems are severe or you have end stage renal disease, your doctor will likely recommend a different treatment than Lynparza.
- Lung or breathing problems. Lynparza can cause side effects that affect your lungs, including shortness of breath or pneumonitis (inflammation in your lungs). If you have lung or breathing problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may be at an increased risk of these side effects. And these could then worsen your breathing symptoms. Your doctor can help determine whether Lynparza is safe for you.
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Lynparza or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe it for you. Ask them about other treatments that might be better options.
Lynparza and alcohol
There are no known interactions between taking Lynparza and consuming alcohol. But drinking alcohol can cause many of the same side effects as Lynparza. Taking them together can increase your risk of diarrhea, fatigue (low energy), and nausea and vomiting.
If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much, if any, is safe to consume during Lynparza treatment.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Your doctor will likely recommend that you do not take Lynparza while pregnant. They can recommend other treatment options for your condition instead.
If you can become pregnant, your doctor may order a pregnancy test to check that it’s negative before prescribing Lynparza for you. They’ll also likely recommend that you use effective birth control while taking the drug and for at least 6 months after your last dose.
It’s not known whether Lynparza is present in breast milk. But due to the risk of serious side effects in a child who is breastfed, it’s recommended you do not breastfeed during treatment. You should also wait for at least 1 month after your last dose of Lynparza to start breastfeeding.
Your doctor will explain how you should take Lynparza as well as how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow their instructions.
Lynparza comes as a tablet you swallow.
Accessible medication containers and labels
If it’s hard for you to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies provide medication labels that:
- have large print
- use braille
- contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that offers these options if your current pharmacy doesn’t.
Also, if you’re having trouble opening your medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to put Lynparza in an easy-open container. Or they may be able to recommend tools or tips to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.
Taking Lynparza with other drugs
Lynparza may be used alone or together with other anticancer drugs. This will depend on the kind of cancer you’re taking Lynparza to treat. Your doctor will tell you more about your specific treatment plan, including whether you’ll take other anticancer medications with Lynparza or not.
Questions about taking Lynparza
Below are some common questions about taking Lynparza.
- Can Lynparza be chewed, crushed, or split? Lynparza tablets should be swallowed whole. You should not chew, crush, or split them. Check out this article if you have trouble swallowing pills. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
- Should I take Lynparza with food? You can take the drug with or without food. But it’s not recommended that you take it with grapefruit or Seville oranges (or juice from either of these fruits). Doing so can increase your risk of side effects.
Questions for your doctor
You may have questions about Lynparza and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.
Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:
- Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
- How will Lynparza affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
- Bring someone with you to your appointment if it will help you feel more comfortable.
- If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.
Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.
Do not take more Lynparza than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to serious side effects.
What to do in case you take too much Lynparza
Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Lynparza. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.
Before starting Lynparza, talk with your doctor. Ask questions that help you feel comfortable about the risks and benefits of this treatment. Some examples to help you get started are:
- What should I know about other treatments for my condition besides Lynparza?
- How will I know if the treatment is working for me?
- Do any of the conditions I have or medications I take put me at an increased risk of side effects from Lynparza?
- Will I have withdrawal symptoms if I stop taking this drug?
You can also learn more about treatments for:
If I have side effects from taking Lynparza, is there a lower dose I can try?Anonymous
Yes, there are lower doses of Lynparza your doctor may prescribe if you have side effects while taking it.
The recommended dosage of this drug is 300 milligrams (mg) twice per day. This is the same regardless of the kind of cancer you’re taking Lynparza to treat. If you have bothersome side effects, your doctor may lower your dosage to 250 mg twice per day. And they can lower it again, to 200 mg twice per day, if your side effects are still too bothersome.
If you have serious side effects from Lynparza, your doctor may have you stop taking it instead of lowering your dose. If this happens, they can discuss other treatment options with you. You should always talk with your doctor before changing your dose and take the dosage they recommend for you.The Healthline Pharmacist TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.