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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.
You should not use Zytiga if you have severe liver disease.
Before you take Zytiga, 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 abiraterone 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.
Abiraterone must be taken on an empty stomach.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Zytiga if you are allergic to abiraterone, or if you have:
- severe liver disease.
To make sure Zytiga is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- liver disease;
- heart disease, high blood pressure;
- a history of problems with your adrenal gland or pituitary gland;
- low levels of potassium in your blood;
- a history of fluid retention;
- if you have recently had a heart attack; or
- if you take medicine to treat seizures, tuberculosis, HIV or AIDS.
While you are taking Zytiga and for at least 1 week after your treatment ends:
- If your sexual partner is pregnant — Use a condom to prevent transfer of this medication to her.
- If your sexual partner could become pregnant — Use a condom plus another form of effective birth control to prevent pregnancy.
Although Zytiga is not for use by women, this medicine can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Zytiga 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.
It is not known whether abiraterone passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Abiraterone should not be used by a woman who is breast-feeding a baby.
This medicine 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 two times per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
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 at your doctor’s office.
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.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Zytiga dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Prostate Cancer:
Initial dose: 1000 mg orally once daily.
Zytiga should be administered in combination with prednisone 5 mg orally twice daily.
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 extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss more than one dose of Zytiga.
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 at the same time you are taking Zytiga.
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.
Stop using Zytiga and call your doctor at once if you have:
- swelling in your ankles or feet, pain in your legs;
- pain or burning when you urinate;
- dangerously high blood pressure — severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears, nosebleed, anxiety, severe chest pain, shortness of breath;
- high blood sugar — increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss;
- liver problems — nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- low potassium — confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling; or
- signs of low adrenal gland hormones — worsening tiredness or muscle weakness, feeling light-headed, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weight loss.
Common Zytiga side effects may include:
- vomiting, diarrhea, painful or difficult urination;
- 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 each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.