Zytiga or abiraterone

Zytiga or abiraterone

Patient-friendly review of Abiraterone acetate, trade name Zytiga. It was approved by the FDA since 2011 as a medication involved in treating prostate cancer.

It works by inhibiting the production of androgen in males which is a hormone known to promote the growth of the prostate tumour. The inhibition of enzymes in the adrenal glands could result in the over the productivity of mineralocorticosteroids (hormones that regulates the balance of ions such as potassium and sodium, and water) which is one of the adverse reactions that will be mentioned further in the information.

Abiraterone acetate is used in combination with prednisone to treat metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in men after receiving prior chemotherapy containing docetaxel.

The medication is a pill and dosage of 1,000 mg is taken on an empty stomach (approximately 1- 2 hours before or after a meal) once a day taken along with prednisone (5 mg) twice daily. 

Common side effects such as headaches, dizziness, yellow skin and eyes, fatigue, hypertension (the elevation of blood pressure) and fluid retention.

Precautions: Because of the mechanism of the drug causing changes in the body to attack the cancer cells, there’s a possibility that it could result in adverse reactions such as:

  • Low level of potassium (hypokalemia), fluid retention and cardiovascular 
  • Liver damage due to chemicals (hepatotoxicity) 
  • The ability to not produce sufficient amounts of steroid hormones in the adrenal glands (adrenocortical insufficiency) 
  • Usage during pregnancy can cause damaging of the embryo (embryo-fetal toxicity).


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