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Zytiga

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

Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018

What is Zytiga?

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

Zytiga is used together with prednisone to treat prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Zytiga is used in men whose prostate cancer cannot be treated with surgery or other medicines.

Important Information

You should not use Zytiga if you have severe liver disease.

Before you take this medicine, tell your doctor if you have low levels of potassium in your blood, any type of infection, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, or a history of heart disease, fluid retention, recent heart attack, or problems with your adrenal gland or pituitary gland.

Although Zytiga is not for use by women, this medicine can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. The tablets should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant.

While you are taking Zytiga and for at least 1 week after your treatment ends: Use a condom to prevent transfer of this medication to your sexual partner if she is pregnant. Use a condom plus another form of effective birth control if your sexual partner could become pregnant.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Zytiga if you are allergic to abiraterone, or if you have ever had:

  • severe liver disease.

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.

Zytiga is not for use by women or children.

Abiraterone can harm an unborn baby or cause miscarriage. The 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.

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

How should I take Zytiga?

Zytiga is usually taken once per day while also taking prednisone 1 or 2 times per day. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.

Your prednisone 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.

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

Do not crush, chew, or break a tablet. Swallow the tablet 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 Zytiga or prednisone suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your prednisone dose.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Zytiga dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Prostate Cancer:

1,000 mg orally once a day on an empty stomach (in combination with prednisone 5 mg orally 2 times a day)

Comments: No food should be consumed for at least 2 hours before the dose and for at least 1 hour after the dose of this drug.

Use: Treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose and take the medicine the following day on an empty stomach (no food for at least 2 hours before or 1 hour after you take Zytiga). Do not take two doses at one time.

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

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 Zytiga?

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 abiraterone your body absorbs.

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

This medicine 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.

Zytiga side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Zytiga: 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;

  • pain or burning when you urinate;

  • fast heartbeats;

  • headache, confusion;

  • muscle weakness; or

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

Common Zytiga side effects may include:

  • vomiting, diarrhea, painful or difficult urination;

  • swelling;

  • feeling weak, feeling very hot;

  • joint pain or swelling;

  • bruising; or

  • cough, feeling short of breath.

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Zytiga?

Other drugs may interact with 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 Zytiga only for the indication prescribed.

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

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