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Generic Name: abiraterone (A bir A te rone)
Brand Name: Yonsa, Zytiga

Medically reviewed by on Jul 12, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is abiraterone?

Abiraterone works by reducing androgen production in the body. Androgens are male hormones that can promote tumor growth in the prostate gland.

Abiraterone is used together with steroid medication (prednisone or methylprednisolone) to treat prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. abiraterone is used in men whose prostate cancer cannot be treated with surgery or other medicines.

Abiraterone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Abiraterone tablets should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. This medicine can harm an unborn baby or cause miscarriage.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use abiraterone if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver disease;

  • heart problems;

  • low levels of potassium in your blood; or

  • problems with your adrenal gland or pituitary gland.

Abiraterone is not for use by women or children.

abiraterone can harm an unborn baby or cause miscarriage. Abiraterone tablets should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. If this cannot be avoided, the woman should wear latex gloves.

Abiraterone can also harm an unborn baby if the father is taking this medicine at the time of conception or during pregnancy.

Use effective birth control if your sex partner is able to get pregnant. Keep using birth control for at least 3 weeks after your last dose. Use a condom plus another form of effective birth control to prevent pregnancy.

Abiraterone should also not be used by a woman who is breast-feeding a baby.

Abiraterone is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take abiraterone?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Abiraterone is usually taken once per day while also taking a steroid 1 or 2 times per day. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Your prednisone or methylprednisolone dosage needs may change if you have surgery, are ill, or are under stress. Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice.

You may take Yonsa with or without food.

Take Zytiga on an empty stomach. Do not eat anything for at least 2 hours before you take abiraterone and for at least 1 hour after you have taken the medicine.

Do not crush, chew, or break an abiraterone tablet. Swallow it whole with a full glass of water.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often, and you may need frequent blood tests.

You should not stop using abiraterone or prednisone suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your prednisone dose.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose and take the medicine the following day. Do not take two doses at one time.

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss more than one dose of abiraterone.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking abiraterone?

Avoid eating for at least 2 hours before you take Zytiga and for at least 1 hour after your dose. Food can increase the amount of Zytiga your body absorbs.

Avoid taking an herbal supplement containing St. John's wort.

abiraterone can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Abiraterone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • swelling in your ankles or feet, pain in your legs;

  • shortness of breath;

  • pain or burning when you urinate, blood in your urine;

  • fast heartbeats;

  • headache, confusion;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • muscle weakness; or

  • liver problems--stomach pain (upper right side), nausea, vomiting, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation;

  • painful or difficult urination;

  • swelling in your legs or feet;

  • feeling weak, feeling very hot;

  • muscle pain;

  • abnormal blood tests;

  • joint pain or swelling;

  • bruising; or

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Abiraterone dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Prostate Cancer:

NOTE: Different abiraterone acetate formulations have different indications and different dosing. Below are suggested dosing guidelines. Refer to the manufacturer product information before prescribing this drug.

YONSA (R) (micronized formulation): 500 mg once daily (in combination with methylprednisolone 4 mg orally 2 times a day)
-Yonsa (R) can be taken with or without food.
-Patients receiving Yonsa (R) should also receive a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analog concurrently or should have had bilateral orchiectomy.
-Tablets should be swallowed whole with water; do not crush or chew.
USE: In combination with methylprednisolone for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer

-Metastatic CRPC: 1000 mg orally once a day with prednisone 5 mg orally 2 times a day
-Metastatic high-risk CSPC: 1000 mg orally once a day with prednisone 5 mg orally once a day
-Zytiga (R) should be taken on an empty stomach, either one 1 before or 2 hours after a meal.
-Patients receiving Zytiga (R) should also receive a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analog concurrently or should have had bilateral orchiectomy.
-Tablets should be swallowed whole with water; do not crush or chew.
USES: In combination with prednisone for the treatment of patients with:
-Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC)
-Metastatic high-risk castration-sensitive prostate cancer (CSPC)

What other drugs will affect abiraterone?

Other drugs may affect abiraterone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.