Zytiga®

Posted on May 31st, 2011 by

Class: Hormonal Therapy

Generic Name: abiraterone acetate

Trade Name: Zytiga®

How is this drug used? Zytiga is used in combination with prednisone for metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

What is the mechanism of action? Zytiga blocks the production of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) not only by the testes but also by the adrenal glands and the tumor itself.

How is Zytiga given (administered)? Zytiga is a tablet that is taken orally (by mouth). Zytiga is taken on an empty stomach.

How are patients monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with Zytiga. Typically, blood will be drawn to check for side effects and to monitor functions of some organ systems. Patients may also undergo physical examinations or other measures to assess side effects and response to therapy.

What are the most common side effects of treatment with Zytiga?

  • Joint swelling or discomfort
  • Muscle aches
  • Hot flushes
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Cough
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Frequent urination or need to get up at night to urinate
  • Heartburn
  • Cold-like symptoms

What are some of the potentially serious side effects of Zytiga?

  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood potassium levels
  • Fluid retention
  • Adrenal problems
  • Liver problems

This is not a complete list of side effects. Some patients may experience other side effects that are not listed here. Patients may wish to discuss with their physician the other less common side effects of this drug, some of which may be serious.

Some side effects may require medical attention. Other side effects do not require medical attention and may go away during treatment. Patients should check with their physician about any side effects that continue or are bothersome.

What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?

  • Pay careful attention to the physician’s instructions, and discuss side effects with your physician.
  • Do not take Zytiga with food.

Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?

  • Patients should inform their physician about all medical conditions, including heart problems, liver problems, and a history of adrenal or pituitary problems.
  • Patients should inform their physician of any other medication or supplement they are taking (whether prescription or over-the-counter).
  • During treatment with Zytiga and for a week after Zytiga treatment ends, men who are sexually active with a pregnant woman must use a condom. If a man’s sexual partner is not pregnant but could become pregnant, a condom and another effective form of birth control should be used.
  • Although Zytiga is not for use in women, a woman who takes Zytiga should tell her doctor if she is pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Zytiga may harm an unborn baby. Women who are pregnant or could become pregnant should not touch Zytiga without protection such as gloves.

When should patients notify their physician?

Tell your doctor if you experience any side effects that bother you or don’t go away. Some symptoms of potentially serious side effects include dizziness, fast heartbeats, feeling faint or lightheaded, headache, confusion, muscle weakness, pain in your legs, and swelling in your legs or feet.

What is a package insert?

A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug for healthcare providers and consumers. A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the specific drug. By carefully reviewing the package insert, you will get the most complete and current information about how to safely use this drug. If you do not have the package insert for the drug you are using, your pharmacist or physician may be able to provide you with a copy.

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Tags: Drug Dictionary, Hormonal Therapy, Z

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