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.
Nurse: This is a short film showing you how to give an injection just under your skin. This is called a subcutaneous or sub cut injection. This does not replace what your doctors and nurses tell you, so always follow their advice.
Voiceover: Subcutaneous injections may be part of your cancer treatment. Or, you may need them to prevent side effects of treatment, such as blood clots after surgery. Or to help control cancer symptoms, such as pain or sickness.
Most injections come in prefilled syringes.
Nurse: So, today I am going to show you how to give a subcutaneous injection. I am going to start by giving it into a practice cushion and then you can have a go at giving one yourself. Before you start, you need to get your equipment together. What you are going to need is an alcohol wipe to clean your skin, some cotton wool, a prefilled syringe and a sharps bin. It is important that you wash your hands with soap and water and dry them thoroughly before you start. Check that you have got the correct drug and that it is in date.
You can give the injection into the back of your arm, your tummy, your thigh or the outer part of your bottom. It is important that you vary where you give the injection. So it may be that you give it one day in your tummy and the next in your thigh.
So you start by cleaning the skin with the alcohol wipe and allowing it to air dry. Then you take the cover off the needle and pinch the skin up and hold it a bit like a pen and in an upright position, in a quick dart like motion pop it straight down into the skin. Then you press the plunger right to the end, quickly pull the needle out, dab it with cotton wool, pop the needle into the sharps bin. And then you need to wash your hands again.
So here’s what you are going to need. If you start by checking the drug and the expiry date. And then with the alcohol wipe give your skin a clean. That’s it give it a few seconds for the air to dry it. Ok and then if you want to pick up the syringe and take the cover off the needle. Then pinch your skin up and at a ninety degree angle gently push the needle in...then press the plunger...and then quickly remove it... dab your skin with the cotton wool and put the syringe in the sharps bin.
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.
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
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:
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 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
- 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.
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.