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What is Onivyde?

Onivyde (irinotecan) is a strong medication intended for the treatment of advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer—that is, pancreatic cancer that has metastisized to other parts of the body. Onivyde is given as an intravenous infusion, and is FDA-approved for administration with fluorouracil (another anticancer drug) and leucovorin (a drug that protects healthy cells). It is intended for patients who have already tried gemcitabine-based chemotherapy. It is generally given once every two weeks; IV infusion takes about 90 minutes. Onivyde, in combination with fluorouracil and leucovorin, causes severe diarrhea in 13 percent of patients; healthcare providers will administer atropine or loperamide to treat the diarrhea in this case. Onivyde is not recommended for patients with bowel obstructions. Fatal neutropenic sepsis—infection from very low white blood cell counts—in less than 1 percent of patients receiving Onivyde. About 1 in 5 patients receiving Onivyde with fluorouracil and leucovorin will face neutropenia, so white blood cell counts are watched closely. Onivyde may cause harm to the baby if administered to pregnant women, and its safety is not proven for pediatric patients.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.