Abiraterone (Zytiga)

The Basics

Approved in 2011, abiraterone (Zytiga) is used to treat prostate cancer. It slows down cancer growth by reducing certain hormones. Your doctor would generally prescribe you the drug if your cancer has spread to other body parts. You take it by mouth on an empty stomach.

The most common (≥10%) side effects of Zytiga are fatigue, arthralgia, hypertension, nausea, edema, hypokalemia, hot flush, diarrhea, vomiting, upper respiratory infection, cough, and headache. In severe cases, the drug may cause liver and heart problems.

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Let us walk you through the key things you need to know about abiraterone.

How should I take abiraterone (Zytiga)?

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Take the abiraterone tablet by mouth on an empty stomach and with water. Swallow the tablets whole with water; do not split, chew, or crush them. You should take it 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating any food. Take abiraterone at around the same time every day.

Don’t forget your steroid (prednisone)!
A small dose of steroid medication helps prevent abiraterone’s complications like high BP and abnormal potassium levels. Start taking it when you start abiraterone, and do not stop or hold the dose without taking to your Doctor.

Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Do not take more or less of it or more often than your doctor prescribes.

Do not stop taking abiraterone or prednisone without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.

What are the side effects of abiraterone (Zytiga)?

Common side effects

Serious side effects

  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • extreme tiredness
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • blood in urine
  • difficult, painful, or frequent urination
  • bone fracture

Abiraterone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Use the free Ankr platform or Ankr app to track your symptoms.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking abiraterone or Zytiga

  • tell your doctor about your allergies
  • tell your doctor about other intakes
  • tell your doctor about any other disease or symptom in the past or now

While you are on Abiraterone or Zytiga

  • you should know that abiraterone is only for use in men. Women should not take this medication, especially if they are or may become pregnant or are breastfeeding. If taken by pregnant women, abiraterone may harm the fetus.
  • you should know that women who are, could become, or may be pregnant should not touch abiraterone tablets without protective gloves. A pregnant woman should call her doctor immediately if she takes or touches abiraterone tablets.
  • you should know that men with female partners taking abiraterone must use effective contraception during treatment and for three weeks after the final dose. Talk to your doctor about the types of birth control that are right for you.
  • men may experience decreased fertility.

I forgot a dose. What should I do?

Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

In case of an emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Take the medication on empty stomach because food can increase the absorption of abiraterone. This can cause you to have more side effects. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

Brand names

Zytiga®, Yonsa®

Last Revised – 02/17/2023, FDA update- 12/16/2022, SG

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DISCLAIMER: No part of this content constitutes medical advice, opinion, or should be used for medical decision making without consultation with a licenced medical practitioner and under a patient-provider relationship. All information on the website is provided without any claims of accuracy. For full terms and conditions, visit this link. Content curated by the Ankr team.

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