Generic Name: aminoglutethimide (a-mee-noe-gloo-TETH-i-mide)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 6, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Pharmacologic Class: Aromatase Inhibitor
Uses for aminoglutethimide
Aminoglutethimide acts on a part of the body called the adrenal cortex. It affects production of steroids and also has some other effects. Aminoglutethimide is used to treat some kinds of tumors that affect the adrenal cortex. Also, it is sometimes used when the adrenal cortex is overactive without being cancerous.
In addition, aminoglutethimide is sometimes used to treat certain other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Aminoglutethimide is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using aminoglutethimide
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For aminoglutethimide, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to aminoglutethimide or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Aminoglutethimide has been tested in a limited number of children. However, the effects of aminoglutethimide in children were difficult to determine because it was given in combination with other medicines.
Lack of energy is more likely to occur in the elderly, who are usually more sensitive to the effects of aminoglutethimide.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking aminoglutethimide, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using aminoglutethimide with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of aminoglutethimide. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Chickenpox (including recent exposure) or
- Herpes zoster (shingles)—Risk of severe disease affecting other parts of the body
- Infection—May affect the adrenal cortex. If a steroid supplement is being used, a change in dose may be needed
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Effects of aminoglutethimide may be increased because of slower removal from the body
- Underactive thyroid—Aminoglutethimide can cause underactive thyroid
Proper use of aminoglutethimide
Take aminoglutethimide only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of it, and do not take it more often than your doctor ordered.
Aminoglutethimide sometimes causes nausea and vomiting. This effect usually goes away or lessens after you have taken the medicine for a while. It is very important that you continue to use aminoglutethimide even if you begin to feel ill. Ask your health care provider for ways to lessen these effects. Do not stop taking aminoglutethimide without first checking with your doctor.
If you vomit shortly after taking a dose of aminoglutethimide, check with your doctor. You will be told whether to take the dose again or to wait until the next scheduled dose.
The dose of aminoglutethimide will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of aminoglutethimide. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
If you miss a dose of aminoglutethimide, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using aminoglutethimide
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that the medicine is working properly and does not cause unwanted effects.
Your doctor may want you to carry a medical identification card or wear a bracelet stating that you are taking aminoglutethimide.
Before you have any kind of surgery (including dental surgery) or emergency treatment, tell the medical doctor or dentist in charge that you are taking aminoglutethimide. Because aminoglutethimide affects the adrenal gland, extra steroids may be needed.
Check with your doctor right away if you get an injury, infection, or illness of any kind. Aminoglutethimide may weaken your body's defenses against infection or inflammation.
Aminoglutethimide may cause some people to become dizzy, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to aminoglutethimide before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or are not alert.
Aminoglutethimide side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Some side effects will have signs or symptoms that you can see or feel. Your doctor may watch for others by doing certain tests. Some of the unwanted effects that may be caused by aminoglutethimide are listed below. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Black, tarry stools
- blood in urine or stools
- cough or hoarseness, accompanied by fever or chills
- fever or chills
- lower back or side pain, accompanied by fever or chills
- painful or difficult urination, accompanied by fever or chills
- pinpoint red spots on skin
- shortness of breath
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- yellow eyes or skin
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- measles-like skin rash or itching on face and/or palms of hands
- dizziness or lightheadedness (especially when getting up from a lying or sitting position)
- fast heartbeat
- mental depression
- slurred speech
- uncontrolled eye movements
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Neck tenderness or swelling
Aminoglutethimide may also cause the following side effects that your doctor will watch for:
- Low red blood cell count
- low white blood cell count
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Loss of appetite
Less common or rare
- Deepening of voice in females
- increased hair growth in females
- irregular menstrual periods
- muscle pain
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.