Loqtorzi is a brand-name injectable solution that’s prescribed for a certain type of head and neck cancer. Loqtorzi contains the active drug toripalimab-tpzi and is a type of immunotherapy.
Loqtorzi is FDA-approved to treat nasopharyngeal carcinoma in adults in certain situations.
You’ll find key information about Loqtorzi below.
Loqtorzi is a brand-name medication that contains the active drug toripalimab-tpzi.* It’s a biologic drug that isn’t available in biosimilar form.
Biologics are made using parts of living cells, while traditional drugs are made using chemicals. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a traditional brand-name medication. However, biologics cannot be copied exactly. Instead of generics, biologic drugs have biosimilars.
Like generics, biosimilars are considered to be as safe and effective as the original brand-name drug.
* The reason “-tpzi” appears at the end of the drug’s name is to show that the drug is distinct from similar medications that may be created in the future.
The Loqtorzi dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type of condition you’re using Loqtorzi to treat
- the side effects you may have
- your body weight in kilograms (kg)*
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
* For reference, 1 kg is about 2.2 pounds (lb).
Drug forms and strengths
Loqtorzi comes as a solution for injection in a single-dose vial. Each vial contains 240 milligrams (mg) of Loqtorzi in 6 milliliters (mL) of solution.
A healthcare professional will give Loqtorzi as an intravenous (IV) infusion. An IV infusion is an injection into a vein that’s given over a period of time. The first infusion is typically given over 60 minutes, and each infusion after that takes 30 minutes.
You’ll usually receive Loqtorzi in a hospital, clinic, or infusion center.
Dosage for nasopharyngeal carcinoma
When used with gemcitabine and cisplatin. The usual dosage of Loqtorzi is 240 mg every 3 weeks.
When used alone. The usual dosage of Loqtorzi is 3 mg per kg of body weight every 2 weeks. For example, a person who weighs 80 kg (about 176 lb) would receive 240 mg every 2 weeks.
About taking Loqtorzi
Below you’ll find information about key dosage issues.
- When to receive: Depending on the situation, you’ll receive one infusion of Loqtorzi every 2 or 3 weeks.
- If you miss a dose: If you miss an appointment for your Loqtorzi infusion, call your doctor’s office right away to reschedule.
- Length of use: Loqtorzi is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Loqtorzi is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.
- Length of time to work: Loqtorzi starts working as soon as you receive the drug. You may not notice it working. However, your doctor will order certain tests to help monitor treatment. They’ll let you know how your cancer is responding to Loqtorzi.
Loqtorzi can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Loqtorzi. These lists do not include all possible side effects.
Side effects might differ slightly when Loqtorzi is used with certain chemotherapy drugs or on its own.
For more information about the possible side effects of Loqtorzi, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.
Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Loqtorzi, you can do so through MedWatch.
Mild side effects
Below is a partial list of mild side effects of Loqtorzi. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Loqtorzi’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Loqtorzi can include:
- loss of appetite
- malaise (feeling unwell) or fatigue
- musculoskeletal pain
- nausea and vomiting
- peripheral neuropathy (numbness, pain, or tingling in the arms or legs)
- skin rash
- upper respiratory infection, such as sinus infection
- mild allergic reaction*
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. However, if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* For more information about allergic reaction and Loqtorzi, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Loqtorzi aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:
- Colitis (bowel inflammation). Symptoms can include:
- bloody stool
- abdominal pain
- Endocrine disorders, such as thyroid disorders or type 1 diabetes. Symptoms can include:
- unintentional weight loss
- increased thirst or hunger
- Infusion reactions. Symptoms can include:
- fever or chills
- low blood pressure
- Nephritis (kidney inflammation). Symptoms can include:
- bloody, foamy, or discolored urine
- swelling of the face, hands, ankles, or feet
- urinating a lesser amount than usual
- Hepatitis (liver inflammation). Symptoms can include:
- abdominal pain
- dark-colored urine
- Pneumonitis (lung inflammation). Symptoms can include:
- shortness of breath
- Severe skin reactions, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Symptoms can include:
- skin peeling or blistering
- skin rash
- Severe allergic reaction.*
* For details about allergic reaction and Loqtorzi, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
- trouble breathing
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Loqtorzi, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Loqtorzi to treat certain conditions.
Loqtorzi for nasopharyngeal carcinoma
Loqtorzi is used with the chemotherapy drugs gemcitabine and cisplatin as the first treatment for NPC. For this use, the cancer must be either:
- metastatic (spread to other areas of the body away from the throat), or
- recurrent (returned after past treatment) and locally advanced (spread to other areas of the body near the throat)
Loqtorzi is used by itself for NPC that’s worsened after treatment with a platinum-based chemotherapy drug, such as cisplatin. For this use, the cancer must be either:
- metastatic, or
- recurrent and cannot be treated with surgery
You can learn more about NPC by visiting our cancer hub.
Loqtorzi and children
Loqtorzi is not FDA-approved for use in children. It’s not known for sure whether the drug is safe or effective for children.
However, this doesn’t mean that interactions won’t be recognized in the future. For example, new drugs could be approved that interact with Loqtorzi.
Before starting Loqtorzi treatment, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also, tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you take. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
As with all medications, the cost of Loqtorzi can vary. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.
Financial and insurance assistance. If you need financial support to pay for Loqtorzi, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.
Biosimilar version. Loqtorzi is not available in a biosimilar form. It’s a biologic drug made using parts of living cells. Instead of generics, biologic drugs have biosimilars. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. However, biologics cannot be copied exactly.
Like generics, biosimilars are considered to be as safe and effective as the original brand-name drug. And they may cost less than brand-name drugs.
Other drugs are available that can treat nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Loqtorzi, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.
Certain chemotherapy drugs are alternatives to Loqtorzi. Examples of these include:
- capecitabine (Xeloda)
If you can become pregnant, consider the following information about pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Loqtorzi and pregnancy
Loqtorzi should not be used during pregnancy. If you’re planning a pregnancy or can become pregnant, talk with your doctor before using this medication.
Your doctor may suggest birth control options to use during treatment with Loqtorzi. They’ll likely advise you to use birth control while you receive the drug and for at least 4 months after your final dose.
Loqtorzi and breastfeeding
Loqtorzi should not be used while breastfeeding. If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to do so, talk with your doctor before using this medication.
Your doctor may recommend other ways to feed your child during treatment with Loqtorzi. They’ll likely recommend that you avoid breastfeeding while you receive the drug and for at least 4 months after your final dose.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Loqtorzi.
How does Loqtorzi work?
Specifically, Loqtorzi is a programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) inhibitor. PD-1 receptors (attachment sites) are found on cells in your immune system. When certain proteins attach to these receptors, your immune cells stop making proteins that attack cancer cells.
Loqtorzi works by blocking the PD-1 receptor. By doing this, the drug prevents other proteins from attaching to this receptor. This allows your immune system to make more proteins that attack cancer cells. In this way, Loqtorzi helps your immune system fight against cancer.
If you have other questions about how Loqtorzi works, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also view the drug manufacturer’s website.
Is Loqtorzi similar to cisplatin?
Not necessarily. Loqtorzi and cisplatin are prescribed for similar conditions, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma. However, each drug works differently.
Loqtorzi is a type of immunotherapy. It works by helping your immune system fight cancer cells. For more information, see “How does Loqtorzi work?” directly above.
Cisplatin is a type of platinum-based chemotherapy drug. It works by destroying cells that quickly multiply in the body. Cancer cells usually multiply faster than healthy cells, so cisplatin does destroy cancer cells. However, cisplatin may still affect healthy cells in the body.
Depending on the situation, Loqtorzi may be used with cisplatin or after cisplatin treatment. To learn more, see the “Loqtorzi uses” section above.
If you have other questions about how Loqtorzi compares with cisplatin, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Does Loqtorzi cause long-term side effects?
It’s possible. Loqtorzi may cause side effects that start during treatment and continue after treatment ends. Examples of these side effects include type 1 diabetes and pneumonitis (lung inflammation).
If you have other questions about long-term side effects with Loqtorzi, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
This drug comes with several precautions.
Before receiving Loqtorzi, discuss your health history with your doctor. Loqtorzi may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. Be sure to talk with your doctor if any of the following apply to you:
- past or planned stem cell transplant using stem cells from a donor
- past organ transplant
- previous allergic reaction to this or a similar drug
Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Loqtorzi, see the “Loqtorzi side effects” section above.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.