Abiraterone acetate is the generic name for the prescription drug, Zytiga. It is typically used in combination with prednisone or prednisolone in the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. It is a type of hormone therapy and is classified as an “adrenal inhibitor.” As an adrenal inhibitor, it helps interrupt the androgen-making process which can play a significant role in the treatment of prostate cancer. Lowering the androgen levels in prostate cancer cells is crucial in helping to shrink the cancer cells or cause them to grow more slowly.
In a clinical trial in patients with CRPC, a treatment combination of Abiraterone and prednisone showed to be helpful in prolonging patients’ overall survival rate when compared to a placebo. Some of the most common adverse reactions reported during clinical trials included: joint swelling, muscle discomfort, hot flush, urinary frequency, hypertension, nausea, high cholesterol, and cough.
How is Abiraterone Taken?
Abiraterone (Zytiga) is usually prescribed along with prednisone to patients who have received prior chemotherapy containing docetaxel. It must be taken on an empty stomach. No food should be consumed for at least one hour before the medication, or patients should wait two hours after a meal before taking it.
A dose of 1,000 mg is typically administered once daily, combined with 5mg of oral prednisone. The medication should be taken approximately the same time every day, and tablets should be swallowed whole with water. Abiraterone should be avoided by patients with severe hepatic impairment.
What Does Abiraterone Look Like?
250 mg Abiraterone acetate tablets are white to off-white in color, oval in shape, and stamped with AA250 on one side.
Is Abiraterone a Form of Chemotherapy?
Despite its use in helping to treat prostate cancer, Abiraterone is considered hormone therapy and is not a form of chemotherapy.
While Abiraterone is not a cure for prostate cancer, it can work as a treatment for the disease, helping to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells and keep it under control. It has been shown to help some patients live longer, while managing some of the symptoms related to the illness.
How Does Abiraterone Work?
Abiraterone works differently than other androgen inhibitors in the sense that it interferes with an enzyme found in testicular, adrenal, and prostatic tumor tissues, stopping androgen production at the three main production sites. This results in the decreased production of the male hormone testosterone, the hormone that can cause cancer cells to grow.
Things to Keep in Mind While on Abiraterone
The following are basic recommendations to help you manage your treatment while on Abiraterone and avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.
- Neither Abiraterone acetate or prednisone should be administered without the supervision of your doctor. Always take the medication as per your doctor’s recommendations and instructions and avoid cutting in half or skipping dosages.
- This medication is not recommended for pregnant women as fatal interactions may occur. Always consult with your doctor if pregnant.
- Always take the drug on an empty stomach and at the same time every day.
- Avoid alcohol consumption while taking this medication.
- Always consult with your medical provider if new side effects or symptoms occur.
- Avoid skipping or missing your prescribed dose of Arbiraterone or Prednisone. If missed, take your prescribed dose the following day. Your medical care provider should be notified if more than two doses are missed.
You can expect to feel increased tiredness while on this medication as it is a common side effect in those who take it. You should be regularly monitored by your doctor while on Abiraterone to check for any problematic side effects or other interactions that can be caused by the medication. Always consult with your doctor about any possible side effects you might be experiencing even if they are not mentioned under possible drug interactions.