Our website will soon be relaunched with a fresh look and improved user experience. Take a look by visiting our test site.
Call us 24/7 at (888) 552-6760
Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Abiraterone (Zytiga®)


Brand Name: Zytiga®

Abiraterone is used in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Abiraterone is a type of hormone therapy, though it works a bit differently than other hormone treatments for prostate cancer. Specifically, this drug is known as an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor. The male hormone testosterone may stimulate the growth of prostate cancer, and therefore preventing the production of testosterone can slow or stop the growth of cancer. The majority of testosterone is made in the testes, but some is also produced in other tissues and in tumor cells. An enzyme called cytochrome P17 (CYP17) is essential to the production of testosterone. Abiraterone works by blocking CYP17, which in turn stops the testes and other tissues in the body from making testosterone.

This medication is given as a tablet taken by mouth. Abiraterone should be taken on an empty stomach about one or two hours before eating. Usually, this drug is taken once a day, and should be taken at around the same time each day. The tablets should be swallowed whole, and should not be split, chewed, or crushed. The exact dose and schedule of abiraterone depends on the condition being treated, how well the cancer is responding, and several other factors. Your doctor will determine the best regimen for you.

Abiraterone side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between abiraterone and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had liver tumor, liver disease, kidney disease, pituitary gland problems, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, low levels of potassium in your blood, or if you are experiencing unusually high levels of stress.

This drug is for use in men only. Men taking this drug must use a condom during sex with a pregnant woman during treatment and for 1 week afterwards. If you are having sex with someone who may become pregnant, you must use a condom and one other form of birth control during treatment and for 1 week afterwards.

Possible side effects of abiraterone may include:

  • Joint swelling or pain
  • Hot flashes (sudden wave of mild or intense body heat)
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn

Some of abiraterone’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Fast or irregular heartbeats
  • Muscle weakness or aches
  • Leg pain
  • Swelling of hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Lack of energy
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in the upper right part of stomach
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Difficult, painful, or frequent urination

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of abiraterone with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Abiraterone for cancer treatment

Abiraterone is approved by the FDA for the following:

  • In combination with prednisone for the treatment of prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and has not responded to other treatments, including docetaxel.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.

Learn more about our whole-patient approach to cancer treatment. Contact our Oncology Information Specialists today at 888-841-9129 or Chat Now.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.