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Lanreotide (Somatuline)

Lanreotide (also known as Somatuline) is a man made (synthetic) version of the natural hormone somatostatin. You might have it as a treatment for carcinoid syndrome. 

Carcinoid syndrome is a group of symptoms that some people get when they have a neuroendocrine tumour (NET). The symptoms happen when the NET makes large amounts of hormones. Carcinoid syndrome is more common in people with a NET that has spread to the liver.

Lanreotide may also help to stop a NET growing or may slow it down. 

How lanreotide works

Somatostatin is a hormone made naturally in the body. It slows down or stops the production of a number of hormones such as insulin and gut hormones. It also controls the emptying of the stomach and bowel. 

Lanreotide is a synthetic version of somatostatin (a somatostatin analogue). It slows down the production of hormones, which helps to control the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome.

How you have lanreotide

You have lanreotide as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous) or into the muscle (intramuscular).

As an injection under the skin

You have an injection under the skin into your buttocks or upper thigh.

Your nurse usually gives you the injections. Or they might show you how to give the injections yourself.

Your skin in the injection site might go red and itchy for some time after the injection. It is important that you vary where you give the injection.

The video below shows you how to give an injection under the skin. 

As an injection into the muscle

Your nurse gives you the injection into your buttocks. They vary the site of the injection. So you might have one injection in the right buttock and the next in the left.

You usually have a stinging or dull ache for a short time, but they don’t usually hurt much.

When you have lanreotide

You usually start having lanreotide injections every 2 to 4 weeks. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor might change the dose. 

If your symptoms are well controlled, you might have an injection every 6 to 8 weeks.

Side effects

We haven't listed all the side effects. It is very unlikely that you will have all of these side effects, but you might have some of them at the same time.

How often and how severe the side effects are can vary from person to person. They also depend on what other treatment you are having. For example, your side effects could be worse if you are also having other drugs or radiotherapy.

When to contact your team

Your doctor or nurse will go through the possible side effects. They will monitor you closely during treatment and check how you are at your appointments. Contact your advice line as soon as possible if:

  • you have severe side effects 
  • your side effects aren’t getting any better
  • your side effects are getting worse
Early treatment can help manage side effects better.

Common side effects

Each of these effects happens in more than 1 in 10 people (10%). You might have one or more of them. They include:

Diarrhoea

Contact your advice line if you have diarrhoea, such as if you've had 4 or more loose watery poos (stools) in 24 hours. Or if you can't drink to replace the lost fluid. Or if it carries on for more than 3 days.

Your doctor may give you anti diarrhoea medicine to take home with you after treatment. Eat less fibre, avoid raw fruits, fruit juice, cereals and vegetables, and drink plenty to replace the fluid lost.

Tummy (abdominal) pain

Tell your treatment team if you have this. They can check the cause and give you medicine to help. 

Gallstones

Gallstones are hard lumps, like little rocks that form in the gallbladder. In most cases, they don’t cause symptoms and you don’t need to have treatment unless you have tummy pain or yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice). 

Occasional side effects

Each of these effects happens in more than 1 in 100 people (1%). You might have one or more of them. They include:

  • weight loss
  • weakness or tiredness
  • changes to your heartbeat that usually go back to normal when you stop treatment
  • loss of appetite
  • poo (stool) that floats, looks pale or has a bad smell caused by too much fat
  • dizziness and headaches
  • pain in your muscles and bones
  • hair loss
  • pain in the injection site
  • liver changes that are unlikely to cause you problems
  • changes in blood sugar levels
  • feeling or being sick
  • constipation
  • indigestion
  • wind (flatulence)
  • increase in the size of the tubes between your liver and the gallbladder (the bile ducts)

Rare side effects

Each of these effects happens in fewer than 1 in 100 people (1%). You might have one or more of them. They include:

  • hot flushes
  • difficulty sleeping
  • a change in the colour of your poo (stools)
  • changes in the levels of minerals in your body

Coping with side effects

We have more information about side effects and tips on how to cope with them.

What else do I need to know

Other medicines, foods and drinks

Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.

Loss of fertility

You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after treatment with this drug. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future. Men may be able to store sperm before starting treatment. Women may be able to store eggs or ovarian tissue but this is rare.

Contraception and pregnancy

This treatment might harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you're having treatment and for a few months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.

Breastfeeding

Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drug may come through into your breast milk.

Treatment for other conditions

Always tell other doctors, nurses, pharmacists or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.

More information about this treatment

For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.

You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.

Last reviewed: 
03 Oct 2018
  • Electronic Medicines Compendium
    Accessed August 2018

  • Consensus report on the use of somatostatin analogs for the management of neuroendocrine tumors of the gastroenteropancreatic system 
    K Oberg and others 
    Annals of Oncology, 2004. Vol 15, Pages 966-973 

  • Scottish Neuroendocrine Tumour Group - Consensus Guidelines for the Management of Patients with Neuroendocrine Tumours​
    NHS Scotland, 2015

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