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
- to control the growth of some advanced neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) of the intestine and pancreas when surgery is not possible
Carcinoid syndrome is a group of symptoms that some people get when they have a
Carcinoid syndrome is more common in people with a NET that has spread to the liver.
How does lanreotide work?
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) and slows down the production of hormones. This helps to control the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome and slow down the growth of the cancer.
Some of the symptoms you may have with carcinoid syndrome include flushing of the skin, diarrhoea, and tummy (abdominal) pain.
How do 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 bottom or upper thigh.
Your nurse usually gives you the injections or they might show you how to do this yourself. They can also show a family member or friend how to give you the injections.
Your skin around the injection site might go red and itchy for some time after the injection. It’s important that you regularly change the site 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 in your bottom. They vary the site of the injection. So you might have one injection on the right side and the next injection on the left.
You usually have a stinging or dull ache for a short time, but they don’t usually hurt much.
How often do you have lanreotide?
You usually start having lanreotide injections every 2 to 4 weeks. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor might change the amount (dose) and length of time between your injections.
If you are having lanreotide to control the growth of your NET, you continue this for as long as it is working, and the side effects aren’t too bad.
You have blood tests before and during your treatment. They check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.
What are the side effects of lanreotide?
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
These side effects happen in more than 10 in 100 people (more than 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
This drug can cause tummy pain, or less often you might feel bloated and uncomfortable. Tell your healthcare 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:
- a high temperature
- severe and sudden tummy (abdominal) pain
- yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
Occasional side effects
These side effects happen in between 1 and 10 out of every 100 people (between 1 and 10%). You might have one or more of them. They include:
- weight loss
- a slow heartbeat that usually goes back to normal when you stop treatment
- loss of appetite
- poo (stool) that floats, looks pale, has a bad smell caused by too much fat or more rarely your poo may be a different colour
- dizziness, tiredness and headaches, do not drive or operate machinery if you have any of these particular side effects
- pain in your muscles and bones
- hair loss or slower growth of hair on your body
- problems with the injection site such as pain, hard skin and itching
- liver changes that are unlikely to cause you problems
- changes in blood sugar levels
- feeling or being sick
- heartburn and indigestion
- wind (flatulence)
- increase in the size of the tubes between your liver and the gallbladder (the bile ducts) which can cause jaundice, feeling sick and high temperature
Rare side effects
These effects happen in fewer than 1 in 100 people (less than 1%). You might have one or more of them. They include:
- hot flushes
- difficulty sleeping
- 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
It is not known whether this treatment affects fertility in people. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future.
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.
It is not known whether this drug comes through into the breast milk. Doctors usually advise that you don’t breastfeed during this treatment.
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.