Person wearing Optune for glioblastoma Person wearing Optune for glioblastoma
Optune FAQs

Frequently asked questions

Jeanneane, an Optune® user and Patient Ambassador

What is Optune used for?

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

How does Optune work?

Optune works by creating Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields), which are electric fields that disrupt cancer cell division. Using 4 adhesive patches called transducer arrays, TTFields therapy is delivered right into the area of your body where the cancer is located. TTFields may destroy some cancer cells completely and have not been shown to significantly affect healthy cells. Learn more about how Optune works.

Will I have to take other medications while using Optune?

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

  • Your cancer is confirmed by your doctor AND
  • You have had surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible

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

  • You have tried surgery and radiation and they did not work or are no longer working AND
  • You have tried chemotherapy and your GBM has been confirmed by your healthcare professional

Learn more about treatment options for GBM.

Why do I have to shave my head to use Optune?

Arrays need to be applied directly to your scalp to work properly. Even a small amount of hair growth can prevent the arrays from making good contact with your scalp. Arrays should be changed at least 2 times per week (one set of arrays should not be worn for more than 4 days at a time). Learn more about how Optune works.

Can I wear a head covering with Optune?

Loose-knit wigs, hats, and other head coverings may be worn over the arrays. Learn more about Optune.

Please note that Novocure does not recommend or endorse the use of any specific product from any supplier.

How long will I have to wear Optune?

A large clinical study showed that Optune should be worn for at least 75% of the time (18 hours per day). This will help you get the best response from treatment.

When you begin treatment with Optune, work with your doctor to decide how long you should stay on Optune based on your needs. After starting Optune, it may take time to see whether it is working. You and your doctor can review how Optune is working on your tumor and how it is fitting into your lifestyle. This will help you decide on the best path forward. The clinical study of newly diagnosed GBM patients showed that ongoing and continued use of Optune provides the best chance for lasting benefits. Learn more about how Optune may help.

Can my doctor prescribe Optune?

If your current doctor is not a certified Optune doctor, it is possible to have your care coordinated with another center. Find an Optune doctor.

How can I find a doctor who is certified to prescribe Optune?

We have a locator tool that can help you find an Optune doctor based on where you live. Find an Optune doctor.

Can I use Optune if I'm pregnant?

Optune was not tested in pregnant women. Do not use Optune if you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant.

Women who are able to get pregnant must use birth control when using the device. It is unknown what side effects the device may cause to a pregnant woman. For more information, please consult your doctor. Learn who Optune is for.

Who can help me with insurance information?

The nCompass team has helped many patients and caregivers—in a range of financial situations—start treatment with Optune. They will work with your insurance plan and identify resources to help minimize your cost for Optune, regardless of your financial situation. To get in touch with nCompass, call 1-855-281-9301 (toll-free).

See how nCompass can help support you.

Learn about nCompass

Get support

Talk with an Optune buddy

Schedule a chat

Ask your doctor about Optune

Download the guide

Important Safety Information

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:

  • Your cancer is confirmed by your healthcare professional AND
  • You have had surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible

Recurrent GBM

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

  • You have tried surgery and radiation and they did not work or are no longer working AND
  • You have tried chemotherapy and your GBM has been confirmed by your healthcare professional

Who should not use Optune?

Optune is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

  • An implanted medical device (programmable shunt), skull defect (missing bone with no replacement), or bullet fragment. Optune has not been tested in people with implanted electronic devices, which may cause the devices not to work properly, and Optune has not been tested in people with skull defects or bullet fragments, which may cause Optune not to work properly
  • A known sensitivity to conductive hydrogels (the gel on the arrays placed on the scalp like the ones used on EKGs). When Optune comes into contact with the skin, it may cause more redness and itching or may rarely cause a life-threatening allergic reaction

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

What should I know before using Optune?

Optune 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.

  • Do not use any parts that did not come with the Optune Treatment Kit sent to you by Novocure or given to you by your doctor
  • Do not get the device or transducer arrays wet
  • If you have an underlying serious skin condition on the scalp, discuss with your doctor whether this may prevent or temporarily interfere with Optune treatment

What are the possible side effects of Optune?

The most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy (temozolomide, or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, scalp irritation from the device, headache, seizure, and depression. The most common side effects when using Optune alone were scalp irritation (redness and itchiness) and headache. Other side effects were malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcers. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects or questions.

Please click here for the Optune Instructions for Use (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.

Read more

Important Safety Information

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:

  • Your cancer is confirmed by your healthcare professional AND
  • You have had surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible

Recurrent GBM

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

  • You have tried surgery and radiation and they did not work or are no longer working AND
  • You have tried chemotherapy and your GBM has been confirmed by your healthcare professional

Who should not use Optune?

Optune is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor if you have:

  • An implanted medical device (programmable shunt), skull defect (missing bone with no replacement), or bullet fragment. Optune has not been tested in people with implanted electronic devices, which may cause the devices not to work properly, and Optune has not been tested in people with skull defects or bullet fragments, which may cause Optune not to work properly
  • A known sensitivity to conductive hydrogels (the gel on the arrays placed on the scalp like the ones used on EKGs). When Optune comes into contact with the skin, it may cause more redness and itching or may rarely cause a life-threatening allergic reaction

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

What should I know before using Optune?

Optune 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.

  • Do not use any parts that did not come with the Optune Treatment Kit sent to you by Novocure or given to you by your doctor
  • Do not get the device or transducer arrays wet
  • If you have an underlying serious skin condition on the scalp, discuss with your doctor whether this may prevent or temporarily interfere with Optune treatment

What are the possible side effects of Optune?

The most common side effects of Optune when used together with chemotherapy (temozolomide, or TMZ) were low blood platelet count, nausea, constipation, vomiting, tiredness, scalp irritation from the device, headache, seizure, and depression. The most common side effects when using Optune alone were scalp irritation (redness and itchiness) and headache. Other side effects were malaise, muscle twitching, fall and skin ulcers. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these side effects or questions.

Please click here for the Optune Instructions for Use (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.