Octreotide is used to treat acromegaly (a rare disorder where the body produces abnormally high growth hormone levels in the blood).
This medicine is also used to relieve symptoms such as diarrhoea, flushing, or blistering red rash associated with certain types of tumours that originate from the stomach, bowels, or pancreas.
Octreotide may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
This medicine is available as an immediate-release solution in an ampoule, vial or pre-filled pen, and as an extended-release powder for suspension.
Octreotide solution is to be injected subcutaneously (into the fatty layer under the skin, usually in the upper arm, thigh or abdomen area) or intravenously (into the vein) as an infusion, while the suspension is given intramuscularly (into the muscles, usually in the buttocks).
When given intravenously or intramuscularly, your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
Your doctor will advise you about how often you need this injection.
When given subcutaneously, you or your caregiver may do the administration if you or your caregiver had been given the proper training on the preparation and injection techniques of this medicine.
Use Octreotide exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not inject more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Remember to rotate the injection sites. Do not inject into the same area all the time. New injection sites should be at least 1.5 inches away from the previous injection site. Do not inject near the navel (belly button).
If you are using the pre-filled pen, make sure you know how to use the specific device you have been given. If you have problems or do not understand the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the severity of your condition and response to the medication.
Octreotide must be used regularly for it to be effective. Continue using this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop using it unless instructed by the doctor.
If you are given the intramuscular or intravenous injection, ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Octreotide.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
If you are using the subcutaneous injection, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately if you forgot to administer your dose.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history of vitamin B12 deprivation
- insulinoma (rare tumour of the pancreas)
- heart disease
- liver disease
- kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are going to have certain laboratory tests, inform your doctor that you are being treated with this medicine.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. liver, thyroid and heart function, level of certain hormones, blood sugar levels, gallbladder examination) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring for signs of tumour expansion may also be needed.
Octreotide may cause any of the following side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain or bloating, constipation, stomach wind, indigestion, loss of appetite, loose stools, hair loss, and injection site pain.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- signs of gallstone formation e.g. sudden pain in the upper right abdomen or upper right shoulder blades, sudden back pain between your shoulder blades, fever, yellowing of the skin or eyes
- signs of pancreatitis e.g. severe nausea or vomiting, severe abdominal pain
- signs of low blood sugar e.g. headache, confusion, tiredness, sweating, shaking, increasing hunger, fast heartbeat
- signs of high blood sugar e.g. increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, flushing, rapid breathing, fruity-smelling breath
- slow, irregular or abnormal heartbeat
- feeling cold, swelling at the front of the neck
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or using any of these medicines:
- medicines for diabetes e.g. insulin, glimepiride
- medicines for high blood pressure e.g. atenolol, amlodipine
- ciclosporin (medicine used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders)
- cimetidine (medicine that reduces stomach acid production)
- bromocriptine (medicine for Parkinson’s disease)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Octreotide.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8°C. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used.
Protect from light. Light may cause the medication to lose some of its effectiveness.
If you notice that the injection has changed colour, do not use it. Throw it away and use a new injection.
Prefilled pens may be stored between 20-25°C after the first dose. Throw away any remaining doses 28 days after opening. Mark the date of opening on the pen so that you know when to discard it.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.