Lynparza® (olaparib)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2023

Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment that targets proteins in cancer cells that help the cancer grow, divide, and spread. Targeted therapy drugs identify these specific proteins and attack the cancer cells while trying to minimize damage to healthy cells.1

Lynparza® (olaparib) is a targeted therapy drug used to treat certain forms of ovarian cancer. It is used as maintenance therapy after certain forms of chemotherapy. Maintenance therapy is used after a person is done with chemotherapy to help keep the cancer from coming back.2

Lynparza may be used to treat ovarian cancer in people who have a BRCA gene mutation. However, it may also be used in certain people without a BRCA gene mutation, depending upon the specific form of ovarian cancer.2

What are the ingredients in Lynparza?

The active ingredient in Lynparza is olaparib.3

How does Lynparza work?

Lynparza is a targeted therapy drug that belongs to the drug class of PARP inhibitors. PARP (poly(ADP)-ribose polymerase) proteins play an important part in the life of a cell. When DNA in cells is damaged, PARPs help fix the damage, allowing the cell to live.4

BRCA genes also play a role in repairing damaged DNA. However, some types of ovarian cancer are caused by mutations in the BRCA genes. When this happens, the cancer cells need the PARP to grow and divide.4

PARP inhibitor drugs make it hard for tumors to repair DNA that has been damaged. This can cause cancer cells to die instead of multiplying.4

What are the possible side effects of Lynparza?

The most common side effects of Lynparza include:2,3

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Low red or white blood cell counts, low platelet counts
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Changes in the way food tastes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Indigestion/heartburn
  • Cough

There are also several serious side effects that can occur. These are less common but can be extremely serious. These include bone marrow problems, including myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML). To monitor you for any bone marrow problems, your doctor will do regular blood tests before and during treatment with Lynparza.2,3

Lung problems and pneumonitis (lung inflammation) are also possible serious side effects. If you have any new or worsening breathing problems, tell your doctor immediately.2,3

Blood clots in the lungs or elsewhere also can occur. Your doctor will monitor you for signs of a clot while you are taking Lynparza. They may prescribe a blood-thinning drug if needed.2,3

These are not all the possible side effects of Lynparza. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with Lynparza.

Things to know about Lynparza

Avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juices, Seville oranges, and Seville orange juice while taking Lynparza. These citrus fruits may increase the levels of the drug in your blood.2

Lynparza can cause harm to an unborn baby and should not be given to people who are pregnant. If you can become pregnant, you should use birth control (contraception) during treatment and for a period of time after the last dose of Lynparza. Talk to your doctor about the right birth control options and how long you need to use them.3

You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Lynparza and for a period of time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about breastfeeding options.3

Before beginning treatment with Lynparza, talk to your doctor about any other health issues you have. Also tell your doctor about any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Lynparza (olaparib).

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