Lynparza (Olaparib) - Oral

What Is Lynparza?

Lynparza (olaparib) is an oral medication used to treat certain types of cancer in the ovaries, breast, prostate, or pancreas. It is in a class of medications called poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors, also known as PARP inhibitors.

PARP is an enzyme that repairs DNA damage in cells. Blocking PARP from working in cancer cells prevents the enzymes from repairing the DNA, which causes the cancer cells to die. Lynparza comes in tablet form.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Olaparib

Brand Name: Lynparza

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Oral

Therapeutic Classification: Antineoplastic agent

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Olaparib

Dosage Form: Tablet

What Is Lynparza Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lynparza to treat multiple cancers, including certain types of:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer 

Ovarian Cancer

Lynparza can be used to treat advanced ovarian cancer with a germline or somatic BRCA mutation that has responded well to treatment with certain chemotherapy medications, called platinum drugs. A germline BRCA mutation means a person has been born with that mutation, passed down from one of their parents. A somatic BRCA mutation means that cancer has developed that genetic mutation, and the person was not born with it. 

Lynparza can also be combined with another medication called bevacizumab to treat advanced ovarian cancer.


Breast Cancer

Lynparza can be used to treat breast cancer that has become metastatic (spread to other areas of the body outside of the breast) in someone with a germline BRCA mutation and HER2 negative breast cancer. After hormonal therapy, it should be used if breast cancer is estrogen receptor-positive.

Prostate Cancer

Lynparza can help treat metastatic prostate cancer if the person has a germline or somatic homologous recombination repair (HRC) gene mutation. It is used after previous treatment with either of the medications, enzalutamide or abiraterone.  

Pancreatic Cancer

Lynparza is used to treat metastatic pancreatic cancer with a germline BRCA mutation. It can be used after the person has not progressed on at least four months of chemotherapy, which contains a platinum-based medication.

How to Take Lynparza

You can take Lynparza without regard to food. Doses are usually taken two times a day, about 12 hours apart. Swallow the tablets whole; do not break or crush them before taking them.

Avoid grapefruit products and products containing Seville oranges (such as orange marmalade), as they can interfere with how much of the medication is absorbed in the body.

Storage 

Store Lynparza tablets at room temperature (between 68 degrees and 77 degrees Fahrenheit). Keep the medication in its original packaging; do not move the tablets to a pillbox or separate container.

How Long Does Lynparza Take to Work?

After a few months of taking Lynparza, your oncologist will order imaging studies to see how well the medication is working.

What Are the Side Effects of Lynparza?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects 

The most common side effects associated with Lynparza include:

Severe Side Effects 

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if you think your symptoms are life-threatening or think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Pneumonitis: Severe cough, shortness of breath, fever
  • Blood clots: Chest pain, shortness of breath, redness, or swelling to an extremity

Long-Term Side Effects 

Rarely, Lynparza use can cause myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The risk was higher in people who had previously received chemotherapy or radiation for their ovarian or breast cancers. 

The symptoms of MDS or AML can include:

  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Frequent infections
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Shortness of breath

Report Side Effects

Lynparza may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Lynparza Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (capsules):
    • For advanced ovarian cancer:
      • Adults—400 milligrams (mg) (eight 50 mg capsules) 2 times a day. Each dose should be taken 12 hours apart. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For breast cancer, ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, pancreas cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, or prostate cancer:
      • Adults—300 milligrams (mg) (two 150 mg tablets) 2 times a day. Each dose should be taken 12 hours apart. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed or tolerated. However, dose is usually not more than 600 mg (four 150 mg tablets) per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For maintenance treatment of advanced ovarian cancer:
      • Adults—300 milligrams (mg) (two 150 mg tablets) 2 times a day for up to 2 years. Each dose should be taken 12 hours apart. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed or tolerated. However, dose is usually not more than 600 mg (four 150 mg tablets) per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications 

A dose reduction may be required if significant side effects occur while taking Lynparza. 

Additionally, you may need a lower dose if you have kidney disease.

Missed Dose 

If you miss a dose of Lynparza, you should take it at the next scheduled time. Never take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Lynparza?

If you take too much Lynparza, call your cancer care team right away or go to an emergency room.  

What Happens If I Overdose on Lynparza?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Lynparza, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t wake up after taking too much Lynparza, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. The tablet form may also cause birth defects if the father is using it when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. Female patients should use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant during treatment with this medicine and for at least 6 months after the last dose. Male patients who have female partners should use effective birth control during treatment with this medicine and for at least 3 months after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Do not donate sperm while you are using the tablet form of this medicine and for 3 months after your last dose.

This medicine may cause bone marrow problems, such as myelodysplastic syndrome or acute myeloid leukemia. Check with your doctor right away if you have a fever, blood in the urine or stool, chills, unusual bleeding, bruising, tiredness, or weakness, or weight loss.

Tell your doctor right away if you have a chest pain, cough, or any type of breathing problem with this medicine. These could be symptoms of a serious lung problem.

This medicine may increase your risk for having blood clots (eg, venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism). Call your doctor right away if you have chest pain, fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse, pain or swelling in the arms or legs, or rapid shallow or trouble breathing.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Lynparza? 

People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Lynparza. This medication can potentially cause harm to the fetus, although there are currently only animal studies of its use during pregnancy. 

What Other Medications Interact With Lynparza?

Avoid medications in the class of CYP3A inhibitors and inducers while taking Lynparza.

These medications can include:

  • Tegretol (carbamazepine)
  • Rifadin, Rimactane (rifampin)
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Diflucan (fluconazole)
  • Nizoral (ketoconazole)
  • Cordarone, Pacerone (amiodarone)
  • Diltiazem
  • Phenobarbital

What Medications Are Similar?

Other PARP inhibitors include:

  • Rubraca (rucaparib), which is used for ovarian and prostate cancers
  • Talzenna (talazoparib), which is used to treat breast cancer

These medications should not be taken along with Lynparza.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Lynparza used for?

    Lynparza is used to treat certain types of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

  • How does Lynparza work?

    Lynparza is a PARP inhibitor. It blocks the action of the PARP enzyme in cancer cells. The PARP enzyme repairs the DNA in a cell, and by blocking it, the cancer cell dies.

  • Is Lynparza expensive?

    Like most newer cancer treatments, Lynparza can be expensive. However, there are options out there that may be helpful for those seeking financial help. The manufacturer AstraZeneca offers two programs: AstraZeneca AZ&Me Prescription Savings Program and AstraZeneca Access 350 program.

  • How do I stop taking Lynparza?

    Lynparza should not be stopped unless instructed by the oncologist.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Lynparza?

Anytime a new medication is prescribed, there can be hesitation and nervousness about the potential side effects. 

Lynparza offers a new treatment option for people with these types of cancers. Unfortunately, like many medications, it can also bring side effects. Understanding which side effects are normal and which ones are not is important for managing your therapy. Be sure to talk to your cancer care team about any concerns you may have. They can be a great resource to help you manage any side effects you may experience.

If you are having difficulty affording your cancer medication, you can take steps to find help. Lynparza’s manufacturer, AstraZeneca, offers financial assistance programs. You can also talk to a social worker or pharmacist at your cancer care center for advice. They can help you look for financial assistance opportunities.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. AstraZeneca. Lynparza label.

  2. National Cancer Institute. PARP inhibitor.

  3. American College of Clinical Pharmacology. Drug-drug and food-drug interactions.

  4. Clovis Oncology. Rubraca.

  5. Pfizer. Talzenna