If you have prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend treatment with Orgovyx.
Orgovyx is a prescription medication used to treat advanced prostate cancer in adults.
Orgovyx contains the active drug relugolix. An active drug is an ingredient that makes a medication work. It’s not available as a generic drug.
Orgovyx comes as tablets that you swallow.
Read on to learn more about Orgovyx, including its side effects, cost, how it’s used to treat prostate cancer, and more.
Like most drugs, Orgovyx may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Orgovyx may cause. These lists 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 Orgovyx. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.
Mild side effects
Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Orgovyx can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Orgovyx’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Orgovyx that have been reported include:
- gynecomastia (swollen male* breast tissue)
- hot flashes
- mildly abnormal lab test results, such as:
- increased blood sugar level
- increased blood triglyceride level
- increased liver enzyme levels
- decreased blood hemoglobin level
- pain or stiffness, including in your back, bones, joints, or muscles
- sleep problems
- sweating more than usual
- tiredness or weakness
- weight gain
- decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction†
* In this article, we use the term “male” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.
† For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.
Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Orgovyx can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Orgovyx, call your doctor right away. But, if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects of Orgovyx that have been reported include:
- abnormal lab test results that may be serious
- excessive bleeding
- heart failure
- sudden kidney injury
- abnormal heart rhythm*
- heart attack*
- allergic reaction*
* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.
Side effect focus
Learn more about some of the side effects Orgovyx may cause.
Abnormal heart rhythm
Orgovyx can cause a type of abnormal heart rhythm called long QT syndrome. This is a change to certain electrical activity in your heart.
Any of the following may increase risk of abnormal heart rhythm, including long QT syndrome, during Orgovyx treatment:
- taking other medications that can cause long QT syndrome
- having heart failure
- being born with long QT syndrome
- having frequent problems with blood electrolyte levels
Long QT syndrome often doesn’t cause symptoms, but your doctor may notice it on an electrocardiogram (EKG) test. Symptoms that can occur include:
- a fluttering or pounding feeling in your chest
- chest pain
- gasping noisily while sleeping
What might help
While you’re taking Orgovyx, your doctor may check your blood electrolytes and order an EKG for you from time to time. This helps your doctor watch for signs of an abnormal heart rhythm.
If you notice symptoms of abnormal heart rhythm while taking Orgovyx, contact your doctor right away. They may suggest stopping treatment with Orgovyx and can recommend other treatments for your prostate cancer.
Decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction
Decreased sex drive and ED are side effects expected from treatments like Orgovyx. This is because Orgovyx works to decrease testosterone in the body to nearly undetectable levels.
Testosterone is a hormone that affects your sex drive and mood, among other functions. It can also cause prostate cancer to grow. This is why medications that lower testosterone levels, such as Orgovyx, may be used to treat prostate cancer.
It’s also important to note that ED can also be a symptom of advanced prostate cancer, the condition Orgovyx is used to treat.
What might help
Talk with your doctor if you notice decreased sex drive or ED while taking Orgovyx. They can discuss ways to manage these side effects. This includes using medications such as sildenafil (Viagra) if it’s safe for you to do so. They may also recommend treatments other than medications, such as pelvic floor exercises.
Symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- chest pain or discomfort
- trouble breathing
- lightheadedness or dizziness
- pain in your arm, neck, or shoulder
- sweating more than usual
What might help
If you think you’re having symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 or go to your closest emergency room. A heart attack is a life threatening medical emergency that needs immediate treatment.
If you have a heart attack during Orgovyx treatment, your doctor will let you know whether you should keep taking the drug.
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, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Orgovyx. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use. (Note that you’ll likely need to get Orgovyx from a specialty pharmacy.)
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Orgovyx manufacturer’s website to see if it has support options.
And for more about saving money on prescriptions, see this article.
Specifically, Orgovyx is used to treat advanced prostate cancer. “Advanced” means the cancer has spread beyond the prostate to other parts of the body. Symptoms of this cancer include:
Testosterone is a hormone that fuels the growth of prostate cancer. Orgovyx is a hormone therapy that lowers testosterone levels in the body to nearly undetectable levels. This can help stop prostate cancer cells from growing and spreading.
* In this article, we use the term “males” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.
Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Orgovyx.
Is Orgovyx a kind of chemotherapy?
No, Orgovyx is not a chemotherapy drug.
Chemotherapy refers to traditional drugs used to treat cancer. These drugs attack rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells and certain healthy cells. This is why chemotherapy often causes many side effects, such as hair loss and mouth sores.
It’s possible that your doctor will prescribe chemotherapy together with Orgovyx for treating prostate cancer.
What is Orgovyx’s mechanism of action?
How a drug works is referred to as its mechanism of action.
Testosterone is a hormone that fuels the growth of prostate cancer. Orgovyx is a hormone therapy that works by lowering testosterone levels in the body to nearly undetectable levels. This can help stop prostate cancer cells from growing and spreading.
To find out more about Orgovyx’s mechanism of action, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
How does Orgovyx compare with Firmagon for treating prostate cancer?
Orgovyx contains relugolix, while Firmagon contains degarelix. Both are hormone therapy drugs. They work to lower testosterone levels in the body. (Testosterone is a hormone that fuels the growth of prostate cancer.)
One major difference between these drugs is how you take them:
- Orgovyx is a tablet that you swallow.
- Firmagon is an injection under your skin.
To learn more about how these drugs are alike and different, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Orgovyx that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
Form and strength
Orgovyx comes as tablets that you swallow. Orgovyx tablets are available in one strength: 120 milligrams (mg).
You’ll likely take Orgovyx once each day.
Questions about Orgovyx’s dosage
Below are some common questions about Orgovyx’s dosage.
- What if I miss a dose of Orgovyx? If you miss a dose of Orgovyx, try to take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s been more than 12 hours since you missed your dose, take your next dose at the regular scheduled time. Don’t take more than one dose of Orgovyx at a time.
- Will I need to take Orgovyx long term? You’ll likely take Orgovyx long term if you and your doctor agree that it’s safe and working well for you.
- How long does Orgovyx take to work? Orgovyx begins working as soon as you take a dose. Some people may have lower testosterone levels within 4 days of starting treatment. But it may take up to a month before your testosterone levels decrease.
Your doctor will explain how you should take Orgovyx. They’ll also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Orgovyx comes as tablets that you swallow. You may take your dose at any time of day. But try to take it at the same time every day.
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 may provide medication labels that:
- have large print
- use braille
- contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text into 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 Orgovyx in an easy-open container. Your pharmacist may also recommend tools to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.
Questions about taking Orgovyx
Below are some common questions about taking Orgovyx.
- Can Orgovyx be chewed, crushed, or split? No, Orgovyx tablets should not be chewed, crushed, or split. Swallow Orgovyx tablets whole. If you have trouble swallowing pills, see this article for a few tips that may make taking them easier. Your doctor or pharmacist may also have some suggestions.
- Should I take Orgovyx with food? You may take Orgovyx tablets with or without food.
Questions for your doctor
You may have questions about Orgovyx 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 Orgovyx affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
- Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so 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.
Before you start taking Orgovyx, there are important factors to consider. For example, you should tell your doctor about any medical conditions you may have. This can help them determine if Orgovyx is right for you.
You should also tell your doctor about all medications you take, including over-the-counter medications. Other factors to consider are discussed below.
Taking a medication with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the medication works. These effects are called interactions.
Before taking Orgovyx, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also, describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you take. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Orgovyx.
Interactions with drugs or supplements
Orgovyx can interact with several types of drugs. These include:
- the antibiotic drug rifampin (Rifadin)
- the antiepileptic drug carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro)
- the antidepressant drug sertraline (Zoloft)
- the heart rhythm medication amiodarone (Pacerone)
- the acid reflux drug omeprazole (Prilosec)
- the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone
- tamoxifen (Soltamox), which is used to treat certain cancers, among other purposes
This list does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Orgovyx. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur when taking Orgovyx.
Orgovyx may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Orgovyx. Factors to consider include those in the list below.
- Heart problems, including long QT syndrome. Taking Orgovyx can cause a heart rhythm problem called long QT syndrome. You may be at higher risk of this side effect if you have existing heart problems. And, if you already have long QT syndrome, taking Orgovyx could worsen your condition. Tell your doctor about any heart problems you have. This can help them determine if Orgovyx is safe for you to take.
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Orgovyx or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Orgovyx. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.
Orgovyx and alcohol
There isn’t a known interaction between drinking alcohol and taking Orgovyx.
However, alcohol could raise your risk of or worsen certain side effects Orgovyx may cause, including diarrhea, sleep problems, and weight gain.
If you consume alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe to drink while you’re taking Orgovyx.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It’s not known if it’s safe to take Orgovyx while pregnant or breastfeeding. Note that the drug has not been studied in females.*
Orgovyx’s manufacturer recommends using birth control if you have a sexual partner who can become pregnant. Your doctor can provide more information about effective birth control options for you.
* In this article, we use the term “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.
Don’t take more Orgovyx than your doctor prescribes. Taking more than this can lead to serious side effects.
What to do in case you take too much Orgovyx
Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Orgovyx. 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.
If you’re considering treatment with Orgovyx, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Ask questions that help you feel comfortable about the risks and benefits of taking the medication. Some examples to help you get started are:
- What should I know about alternative drugs for prostate cancer besides Orgovyx?
- How will I know if Orgovyx is working for me?
- If I have side effects from Orgovyx, are there other treatment options that may work better for me?
Below are a couple of articles that contain helpful information about other treatments and resources for prostate cancer:
Will I need to have lab tests done while I’m taking Orgovyx?Anonymous
Yes, you’ll have lab tests during your Orgovyx treatment.
Your doctor will likely order prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests regularly throughout treatment. PSA is a protein your prostate makes naturally. High PSA levels can be a sign of prostate cancer. Your doctor probably ordered a PSA test to help diagnose your cancer. But this test can also monitor how well treatment is working for you.
Your doctor may also check your testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that can cause prostate cancer to grow. Orgovyx should lower testosterone in your body to nearly undetectable levels.
Additionally, your doctor may monitor your blood levels of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. Orgovyx can cause changes to your electrolyte levels. And changes in electrolyte levels may lead to heart problems, including long QT syndrome.
You’ll also get routine blood tests to monitor your levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, liver enzymes, and hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body).
Your doctor may also periodically order electrocardiograms (EKGs) to monitor your heart. An EKG measures the electrical activity of your heart.
For more information about lab tests you may need during your Orgovyx treatment, talk with your doctor.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.