Alleviating Annoyances with Optune,® An Honest Review

Starting Optune

When starting out on Optune there were many unknowns and one question I initially had was, “How will I tackle any potential obstacles and mishaps along the way?”

Fortunately, the initial training with the Device Support Specialist (DSS) was very informative and cleared up any anxiety I had about managing Optune. I’ve found the treatment to be both manageable and sustainable. I try to face any obstacles with patience and levelheadedness. I know any alarm that is triggered is just there to tell me what needs to be corrected. If I run into a problem, there is always a solution to be found.


Problem-Solving with Optune

On a day-to-day basis, I’m always prepared to maintain Optune in case it alerts me to something. This doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I feel more comfortable knowing Optune has ways to ensure I get the most out of it. If I need to turn off the device and pause treatment for any reason, then it’s a simple two-step process to do. I investigate what the problem might be—perhaps a low battery or maybe it’s time to change the arrays.

I almost always manage Optune by myself, but if I need any help, I know nCompass® support and the DSS are just a phone call away. I also can go to my brother, who is my caregiver, for help. With most problems, I find a fix pretty quickly. Then, I just power the device back on and resume treatment.

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Make Management Easier with Optune

A common thought is, “What can be done to make the day-to-day managing of treatment easier?” I find Optune itself to be lightweight, and durable so I’m happy with that aspect. It also comes with a number of carrying bags with different options that work for me.

I think one of the main annoyances can come from the wires getting in the way at times. There are creative ways to braid the wires, clip them to your shirt or your bag, as well as a wire cover provided by Novocure to keep them in check. I’ve also found that wearing a hat or beanie works for me in the right situations whether for fashion or to keep my head and the arrays protected from the sun’s heat. I’ve found success in a hat that has a solar panel that powers a fan to keep my head cool!

Many people talk about sleeping while using Optune. For me, it’s the easiest time to receive treatment. It can be important though to make sure the wires are out of your way. Perhaps make sure the wires run to the device on a nightstand by guiding them above your head along the headboard. Also, for some, it can be important to have a cooling pillow.

While avoiding water with Optune is a must, you can always have a change day and take a break for anything involving water. Daily showers are easily obtained by disconnecting from the device and wearing a shower cap for the arrays.


Optune and the Arrays

If I were to want to improve anything about the Optune treatment, it would be the arrays. I’m fortunate to have my brother help me manage them and change them every three to four days.

We also use a stretch net designed to serve as a second dressing to help keep the arrays in place. I find this to be very important. If the arrays start to peel off or have any issues, we aren’t afraid to replace the arrays and have an unplanned change day.

It’s also important to talk to your doctor about skin irritations if they occur, which I’ve been able to manage. Though challenging at times, the arrays are reasonable and certainly have worked well for me.

All in all, I find very little annoyance with Optune, and I’m very happy and grateful that I’m able to continue treatment.

For technical support, call 1-855-281-9301 (toll free) or email support@novocure.com.

To access the patient information and operations manual, click here. If you feel any change in your health or any side effects from the treatment, call your doctor right away.
 
Topics: Daily Life with Optune, For Caregivers, Support Resources
By JB, Optune Patient

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What is Optune® approved to treat?

Optune is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.

Newly diagnosed GBM

If you have newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used together with a chemotherapy called temozolomide (TMZ) if:

Recurrent GBM

If your tumor has come back, Optune can be used alone as an alternative to standard medical therapy if:

What is Optune Lua approved to treat?

Optune Lua is a wearable, portable, FDA-approved device indicated for the treatment of adult patients, with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) to be used together with standard chemotherapy (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy).

Who should not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM are not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

Do not use Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Optune/Optune Lua is safe or effective during pregnancy.

What should I know before using Optune for GBM or Optune Lua for MPM?

Optune and Optune Lua should only be used after receiving training from qualified personnel, such as your doctor, a nurse, or other medical staff who have completed a training course given by Novocure®, the maker of Optune and Optune Lua.

What are the possible side effects of Optune for GBM and Optune Lua for MPM?

The most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy for GBM (temozolomide or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, seizure, and depression.

The most common side effects when using Optune alone for GBM were scalp irritation (redness and itchiness) and headache. Other side effects were malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcers.

The most common side effects of Optune Lua when used together with chemotherapy for MPM (pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy) were low red blood cell count, constipation, nausea, tiredness, chest pain, fatigue, skin irritation from device use, itchy skin, and cough.

Other potential adverse effects associated with the use of Optune Lua include: treatment related skin irritation, allergic reaction to the plaster or to the gel, electrode overheating leading to pain and/or local skin burns, infections at sites of electrode contact with the skin, local warmth and tingling sensation beneath the electrodes, muscle twitching, medical device site reaction and skin breakdown/skin ulcer.

Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects or questions.

Caution: Federal law restricts Optune Lua to sale by or on the order of a physician. Humanitarian Device. Authorized by Federal Law for use in the treatment of adult patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, malignant pleural mesothelioma concurrently with pemetrexed and platinum-based chemotherapy. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.

Please click here to see the Optune Instructions for Use (IFU) for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

Please click here to see the Optune Lua IFU for complete information regarding the device's indications, contraindications, warnings, and precautions.

On this site, patient and healthcare professional videos as well as all images labeled as Optune users, caregivers, or healthcare professionals depict actual patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. All other depictions of patients and caregivers are actor portrayals. Patient images reflect the health status of the patients at the time each photo was taken.

What is Optune approved to treat?

Optune is indicated to treat a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in adult patients 22 years of age or older.