What Is Octreotide (Sandostatin)?
Octreotide is a drug used to treat diarrhea and skin flushing caused by certain types of cancer.
The drug is also prescribed for acromegaly (a condition in which the body produces too much growth hormone) and vasoactive intestinal peptide secreting adenomas (tumors that form in the pancreas and release hormones).
Octreotide belongs to a class of drugs called octapeptides. It works by reducing the amounts of certain hormones and other substances produced by the body.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved octreotide in 1988. It's manufactured as Sandostatin by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Before taking octreotide, tell your doctor if you have, or have ever had:
Also, let your doctor know if you're being fed by total parenteral nutrition (nutrients delivered by IV).
Octreotide may cause changes in your blood glucose levels. You should know the signs of high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) or low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) and what to do if you experience either one.
Older adults may be more sensitive to certain side effects of octreotide. Use this medicine with caution if you're elderly.
The safety and effectiveness of octreotide in children hasn't been determined.
Octreotide may control your symptoms, but it won't cure your condition. Don't stop taking the drug without first talking to your doctor.
Your doctor will probably want to order frequent lab tests while you're taking octreotide. Keep all appointments with your doctor's office and laboratory.
Pregnancy and Octreotide
Octreotide isn't expected to harm an unborn baby.
Still, tell your doctor if you're pregnant, or might become pregnant, before taking this medicine. You'll need to discuss the risks and benefits of continuing to take the drug.
You may be able to become pregnant while taking octreotide even if you were infertile before your treatment. Talk to your doctor about effective birth control methods if you want to avoid pregnancy.
It's not known whether octreotide passes into breast milk or could harm a breastfeeding baby.
Tell your doctor if you're breastfeeding before taking this medicine.
Octreotide Side Effects
Common Side Effects of Octreotide
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become severe or don't go away:
- General stomach pain
- Pale, bulky, or foul-smelling stools
- Feeling like you constantly need to empty your bowels
- Back, muscle, or joint pain
- Hair loss
- Mild pain at the injection site
Serious Side Effects of Octreotide
Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
Tell your doctor about all prescription, nonprescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking, especially:
Octreotide and Other Interactions
Octreotide may cause dizziness, blurred vision, or drowsiness.
Don't drive or perform any activity that requires alertness until you know how this medicine affects you.
Octreotide and Alcohol
Alcohol may worsen certain side effects of octreotide.
Talk to your doctor before drinking alcohol while taking this medicine.
Octreotide comes as an immediate-release injection, to be administered under the skin or into a vein.
It also comes as a long-acting injection, to be injected into the buttocks by a healthcare professional.
The immediate-release injection is typically given two to four times a day.
The long-acting octreotide injection is usually given once every four weeks.
You or your caregiver may be able to give the immediate-release injection at home. Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully, and don't give yourself more or less octreotide than is recommended.
Give each injection around the same time each day.
Don't inject the medicine if it's cloudy or contains particles.
Try to change the injection site on the skin to a different location each time you inject octreotide.
Your doctor may start you on the immediate-release form of octreotide, then switch to giving you the long-acting injection after a period of time.
You may switch from one form of the medicine to the other later on in your treatment, as well.
Symptoms of an octreotide overdose may include:
- Slow or irregular heartbeat
- Weight loss
If you suspect an overdose, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
You can get in touch with a poison control center at 800-222-1222.
Missed Dose of Octreotide
If you forget to give an immediate-release octreotide injection, administer it as soon as you remember.
But if it's almost time for your next injection, skip the missed injection and continue with your regular injection schedule.
Don't inject more of the medicine to make up for a missed dose.
If you miss an appointment to receive your long-acting injection of octreotide, call your doctor to reschedule as soon as possible.
Video: Octreotide Injection Carcinoid Cancer
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