Onivyde (irinotecan liposome) is a brand-name drug that’s prescribed for metastatic pancreatic cancer in some adults. Onivyde is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion, typically every 2 weeks at a hospital or infusion center.

Onivyde is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat metastatic pancreatic cancer in adults. Onivyde is used with other drugs. Specifically, it’s used for pancreatic cancer as:

  • a first treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer. For this use, Onivyde is given with oxaliplatin, fluorouracil, and leucovorin.
  • treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer that hasn’t responded to gemcitabine-based therapy (a type of chemotherapy). For this use, Onivyde is given with fluorouracil and leucovorin.

Onivyde belongs to a drug class called topoisomerase inhibitors. Onivyde isn’t available in a generic version.

Keep reading for specific information about the dosage of Onivyde, including its strength and how the medication is given. For a comprehensive look at Onivyde, see this article.

Note: This article describes typical dosages for Onivyde provided by the drug’s manufacturer. However, your doctor will prescribe the Onivyde dosage that’s right for you.

The typically recommended dosages for Onivyde are described below.

Onivyde form

Onivyde comes as a liquid solution that’s given as an IV infusion. (An infusion is an injection that’s given into a vein over time.) Onivyde is always given by a healthcare professional.

Onivyde strength

Onivyde comes in one strength: 43 milligrams (mg) of Onivyde per 10 milliliters (mL) of solution.

Typical dosages

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended.Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for pancreatic cancer

Doctors may prescribe Onivyde to treat metastatic pancreatic cancer in certain situations. Onivyde is given with other chemotherapy drugs.

Dosage for Onivyde is based on your body surface area (BSA). It’s given in milligrams per square meter, or mg/m2. Onivyde may be prescribed in the following dosages:

  • Dosage when used with oxaliplatin, fluorouracil, and leucovorin: Onivyde is prescribed with these three drugs when it’s used as a first treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer. For this use, the recommended dosage is 50 mg/m2 every 2 weeks.
  • Dosage when used with fluorouracil and leucovorin: Onivyde is prescribed with these two drugs when it’s used to treat metastatic pancreatic cancer that has worsened after treatment with a gemcitabine-based therapy. For this use, the recommended dosage is 70 mg/m2 every 2 weeks.

Your doctor may adjust your dose of Onivyde if you have certain genetic factors that can affect how the drug is broken down by the body. For more information about your specific dosage, talk with your doctor.

Long-term treatment

Onivyde is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Onivyde is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely receive it long term.

Before you start taking Onivyde, your doctor will discuss your treatment plan with you.

The Onivyde dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • your BSA
  • side effects you may have with Onivyde
  • genetic factors that can affect how the drug is broken down by your body
  • whether you’ve had previous treatment for your cancer

Other medical conditions you have can also affect your Onivyde dosage.

Your doctor or another healthcare professional will give you an IV infusion of Onivyde. You’ll go to a hospital or infusion center to receive your infusion. The infusion takes about 90 minutes.

Your doctor will typically give you medications 30 minutes before your infusion to help prevent side effects of chemotherapy. These medications may include a corticosteroid and an antiemetic drug (to help prevent nausea).

After you receive your infusion of Onivyde, you’ll have infusions of the other drugs in your treatment plan. (These are either oxaliplatin, fluorouracil, and leucovorin, or fluorouracil and leucovorin.) These drugs will also be given in a hospital or infusion center by a healthcare professional. For details on these infusions and for other information on your treatment, you can visit the manufacturer’s website.

If you have questions about how Onivyde is given, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you miss your appointment for an Onivyde infusion, call your doctor’s office as soon as possible to reschedule. They’ll adjust your dosing schedule as needed.

If you need help remembering your appointments, try setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Below are some frequently asked questions about Onivyde.

How long does it take for Onivyde to start working?

Onivyde starts to work after your first infusion. Because of how the drug works, you likely won’t feel it working in your body. But your doctor will monitor you during treatment to check whether the drug is working to treat your condition.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about what to expect with Onivyde treatment.

Is there a typical dosage range for Onivyde?

Yes, the typical recommended dosage range for Onivyde is between 25 and 70 mg/m2 every 2 weeks. Your dosage will depend on factors such as how Onivyde is being used to treat your cancer and whether you experience side effects during treatment.

Your doctor will likely prescribe the highest recommended dosage of Onivyde for your condition to start. Then, they may lower your dosage if you experience side effects that are bothersome or serious. The goal is to prescribe the highest dosage without causing unmanageable side effects.

For more information about Onivyde dosages, see the “Onivyde dosage” section above. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Onivyde for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. If you have questions about the dosage of Onivyde that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.

Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Onivyde. These additional articles might be helpful:

  • More about Onivyde: For information about other aspects of Onivyde, refer to this article.
  • Details about pancreatic cancer: For information about pancreatic cancer, see our list of pancreatic cancer articles. You can also explore our cancer hub.

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.