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olaparib (tablet)

( oh LAP a rib )
Exceptional Access Program
  • olaparib (tablet) - For the maintenance treatment of BRCA-mutated, high grade epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer in adult patients, with specific criteria
Other Name(s): Lynparza®
Appearance: tablet

Medication Information Sheet
olaparib (tablet) (oh LAP a rib)
This document provides general information about your medication. It does not replace the advice of your health care professional. Always discuss your therapy with your health care professional and refer to the package insert for more details.

Other Name: Lynparza


What is this medication for?

For treating certain types of ovarian and breast cancers, and may be used to treat other types of cancer.

What should I do before I have this medication?
  • Tell your health care team if you have or had significant medical condition(s), especially if you have or had:
    • lung problems,
    • a history of smoking,
    • previously received chemotherapy or radiotherapy,
    • or if you have any allergies.
  • People with cancer have a higher risk of getting other cancers or developing blood clots. Some cancer medications may increase these risks, especially if used for a long period of time. Discuss any concerns about this medication with your health care team.
How will this medication affect sex, pregnancy and breastfeeding?
  • The use of this medication in women (or in female partners of male patients) may cause harm to the unborn baby if pregnancy occurs. Let your health care team know if you are pregnant, become pregnant during treatment, or if you are breastfeeding.
  • If there is any chance that you may become pregnant, you and your partner together must: 
    • ► Use 2 effective forms of birth control at the same time while taking this drug. This medication may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Use a barrier method of birth control. Keep using birth control for at least one month after your last dose (3 months if you are male or if your male partner is on treatment) unless your health care team told you differently. Talk to your health care team to figure out the best method(s) for you and/or your partner.
  • Do not breastfeed while using this drug and for one month after stopping treatment.
  • This medication may affect fertility (ability to get pregnant)
How is this medication given?
  • This medication is usually taken twice daily at about the same time each morning and evening.
  • Take this medication with or without food.
  • Tablets should be swallowed whole and not chewed, crushed, dissolved or divided.
  • If you miss a dose, take your next dose at the usual time. Do not double the dose to make up for a missed dose.
What else do I need to know while on this medication?
  • This medication can interact with other medications and can result in the treatment not working as well or cause severe side effects.
  • Make sure your health care team knows about all your medications (prescription, over-the-counter, herbals and supplements), especially antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, St. John's wort and other anticancer medications. Check with your health care team before starting or stopping any of them.
  • Do not eat or drink grapefruit, starfruit, pomegranate, Seville oranges or their juices (or products that contain these) while taking this drug. They may increase the amount of drug in your blood and increase side effects.
  • For mild aches and pain:
    • You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) tablets. Ask your health care team about the right dose for you. 
    • Talk to your health care team first before starting ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Aleve®) or aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, ASA), since these may increase your chance of bleeding.
    • If you are already taking aspirin regularly, such as for heart conditions; Do not stop it- talk to your health care team first.
    • If you feel unwell, take your temperature before using any of these drugs. They may hide a fever. Phone your health care team or go to the closest emergency room right away if you have a fever.  See the Fever pamphlet for more information.
  • Drinking alcohol and smoking during your treatment may increase some side effects and make your medication less effective. Speak to your health care team about smoking and drinking alcohol while on treatment.


How should I safely store this medication?
  • Keep this medication in the original packaging at room temperature in a dry place, away from heat and light. Keep out of sight and reach of children and pets.

  • Do not throw out any unused medications at home. Bring them to your pharmacy to be thrown away safely.

What are the side effects of this medication?

You may not have all of the side effects below. You may have side effects that are not listed.

Side effects and what to do When to contact doctor?
Very Common Side Effects (50 or more out of 100 people)

Nausea and vomiting (generally mild)

May occur in hours to days after your treatment begins. 

If you have nausea or vomiting:

  • Take anti-nausea medication(s) as prescribed to you by your doctor.
  • Drink clear liquids and have small meals. Get fresh air and rest.
  • Do not eat spicy, fried foods or foods with a strong smell.
  • Limit caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea) and alcohol.
  • Contact your health care team if the prescribed anti-nausea medications are not helping to control your nausea and vomiting.

 Also see Nausea & Vomiting pamphlet for more information.

Contact your healthcare team if nausea lasts more than 48 hours or vomiting lasts more than 24 hours

Fatigue (tiredness)

  • Be active and aim to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise (you are able to talk comfortably while exercising) on most days. Check with your health care team before starting any new exercise.
  • Pace yourself, do not rush. Put off less important activities. Rest when you need to.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated by drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water or other liquids every day (unless your doctor told you to drink more or less).
  • Avoid driving or using machinery if you are feeling tired

See our Fatigue pamphlet for more information. 

Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe





Side effects and what to do When to contact doctor?
Common Side Effects (25 to 49 out of 100 people)

Abnormal kidney lab tests (may be severe)

  • Signs of a kidney problem include swelling, passing very little or no pee, or new unusual weight gain. If you have these signs, call your health team or go to your closest emergency department.
  • To prevent bladder or kidney problems, drink lots of water or other liquids. Your doctor may ask you to drink at least 6 to 8 cups (2 L) per day on treatment days, unless you have been told otherwise.
  • Your doctor may check your kidney function regularly.


Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe


May happen days to weeks after your treatment begins.

If you have diarrhea :

  • Take anti-diarrhea medication if your health care team prescribed it.
  • Avoid foods or drinks with artificial sweetener (e.g. chewing gum, “diet” drinks), coffee and alcohol.
  • Eat many small meals and snacks instead of 2 or 3 large meals.
  • Drink at least 6 to 8 cups of liquids each day. Talk to your health care team if you can’t drink 6-8 cups of liquids each day when you have diarrhea. You may need special liquids with salt and sugar, called Oral Rehydration Therapy.

​See the Diarrhea pamphlet for more information.

Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Headache; mild joint, muscle pain or cramps 

  • Take your pain medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • You can take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) tablets as needed for mild aches and pains. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the right dose for you.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist first before taking ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Aleve®) or aspirin. These medication may increase bleeding risk.
  • Rest often and try light exercise as it may help.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Taste changes

  • Eat food that needs less chewing.
  • Taste foods at different temperatures, since the flavor may change. 
  • Try different forms of foods, like fresh, frozen or canned.
  • Experiment with non-spicy foods, spices and seasonings. 
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe


Side effects and what to do When to contact doctor?
Less Common Side Effects (10 to 24 out of 100 people)

Low appetite

  • You may not feel like eating or you may lose weight.
  • Try to eat foods that you like and eat small meals throughout the day. 
  • You may need to take meal supplements to help keep your weight up.
  • Talk to your health care team if you have a low appetite.
  • See our Loss of appetite pamphlet for more information.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Cough; feeling short of breath

You may have cough and feel short of breath without any signs of infection, such as a sore throat or a stuffed nose.

Rarely this may be severe with chest pain, trouble breathing or coughing up blood. If this happens get medical help right away.

Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Heartburn; stomach upset

To help prevent heartburn:

  • Avoid fatty or spicy foods.
  • Remain upright after eating.
  • Drink clear liquids and eat small meals.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Low platelets in the blood

  • Watch for bleeding (such as unusual nosebleeds or bleeding from the gums) or bruising easily (this is rare).
  • Very rarely, severe symptoms can happen. If you notice black coloured stools (poo), red or pink coloured urine (pee), red or brown coloured mucus when you cough, severe headache/confusion or bleeding that will not stop, you need to talk to your health care team or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

See the Low Platelet Count pamphlet for more information.

Fever, chills, infection

You have a fever if your temperature taken in your mouth (oral temperature) is:

  • 38.3°C (100.9°F) or higher at any time OR
  • 38.0°C (or 100.4°F) or higher for at least one hour.

While you are taking olaparib:

  • Keep a digital thermometer at home and take your temperature if you feel hot or unwell (for example, chills).
  • Avoid taking medications that treat a fever before you take your temperature (for example, Tylenol®, acetaminophen, Advil® or ibuprofen) as they may hide a fever.
  • Do not eat or drink anything hot or cold right before taking your temperature.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Check with your doctor before getting any vaccines, surgeries, medical procedures or visiting your dentist.

If you have a fever, talk to your health care team or go to the closest emergency room. 
See our Neutropenia (Low white blood cell count) pamphlet for more information.

Get emergency medical help right away


  • You may feel light headed.
  • Lay down if this happens.
  • Get up and move slowly once you feel better.
  • Do not drive a motor vehicle or use machinery if you feel dizzy.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Mouth sores

You may have round, painful, white or gray sores inside your mouth. They can occur on the tongue, lips, gums, or inside your cheeks. In more severe cases they may make it hard swallow, eat or to brush your teeth. They usually last 1 to 2 weeks.

To help prevent mouth sores: 

  • Take care of your mouth by gently brushing and flossing regularly.
  • Rinse your mouth often. Do not use mouthwashes with alcohol.
  • Instead, try a homemade mouthwash:
  • Mix 1 teaspoonful of baking soda and 1 teaspoonful of salt in 4 cups (1L) of water.

If you have mouth sores:

  • Check with your health care team as soon as you notice mouth or lip sores or if it hurts to swallow.
  • Avoid hot, spicy, acidic, hard or crunchy foods.  Your doctor may prescribe a mouthwash to relieve mouth sores and prevent infection.

See the Mouth Care pamphlet for more information.

Contact your health care team as soon as possible

Other rare, but serious side effects are possible.
If you experience ANY of the following, speak to your cancer health care provider or get emergency medical help right away:

  • fever, flushing, itchiness, rash, swollen lips, face or tongue, wheezing, chest and throat tightness. It may occur during or shortly after the medication is given to you. 
  • second cancers of the blood are rare yet possible; your doctor will check your blood regularly for this

Who do I contact if I have questions or need help?          

My cancer health care provider is: ______________________________________________

During the day I should contact:________________________________________________

Evenings, weekends and holidays:______________________________________________


Other Notes:














For more links on how to manage your symptoms go to

The information set out in the medication information sheets, regimen information sheets, and symptom management information (for patients) contained in the Drug Formulary (the "Formulary") is intended to be used by health professionals and patients for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or side effects of a certain drug, nor should it be used to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for a given condition.

A patient should always consult a healthcare provider if he/she has any questions regarding the information set out in the Formulary. The information in the Formulary is not intended to act as or replace medical advice and should not be relied upon in any such regard. All uses of the Formulary are subject to clinical judgment and actual prescribing patterns may not follow the information provided in the Formulary.