What is Zytiga Uses, warnings & interactions
Complete a free online enrollment application to find out if you’re eligible to pay only $49 per month for your Zytiga medication.Get started today
Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) is a form of androgen deprivation therapy that is manufactured by Janssen Biotech, Inc. It was approved in 2011 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a type of hormone therapy used to treat advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
If your doctor has prescribed Zytiga to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Zytiga is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Zytiga used for?
Zytiga is a CYP17 inhibitor used along with prednisone to treat:
- Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC
- Metastatic high-risk castration-sensitive prostate cancer
How does Zytiga work?
Zytiga is an androgen inhibitor that decreases testosterone concentrations in the testicles and prostate tumor tissues. Increased levels of testosterone can promote tumor growth in the prostate gland. Zytiga can also increase mineralocorticoid production by the adrenal gland. Mineralocorticoids are a class of steroid hormones that help regulate salt and water balances. Prednisone is given along with Zytiga to help reduce adverse effects related to increased mineralocorticoid levels.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Zytiga?
- 250mg uncoated tablet
- 500mg film-coated tablet
Before taking Zytiga
Before using Zytiga, tell your doctor about your medical conditions, including:
- Heart problems such as heart failure
- Liver problems
- Adrenal gland problems
- Pituitary gland problems
- Are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding
How to take Zytiga
- Read the Full Prescribing Information, Drug Information, and Medication Guide that comes with Zytiga.
- Take Zytiga exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes it to you. Do not change your dose or stop taking this medication without discussing it with them first.
- Zytiga is taken once a day on an empty stomach. You should not eat 2 hours before or 1 hour after taking this medication.
- Swallow Zytiga tablets whole with water. Do not chew or crush Zytiga tablets.
- If you miss a dose of Zytiga, wait and take your usual dose the next day. If you miss more than 1 dose of Zytiga, call your healthcare provider.
- While on this medication, your healthcare provider will perform blood tests to check for adverse effects.
- Pregnant women or those who may become pregnant should not touch uncoated Zytiga tablets or other broken, damaged, or crushed tablets without wearing gloves.
- Males with female partners who may become pregnant should use an effective form of birth control while taking Zytiga and for at least 3 weeks after their last dose.
You should not take Zytiga if you have an allergy to abiraterone or any of the inactive ingredients in this product.
- You should control your blood pressure and treat low potassium levels before starting Zytiga and monitor monthly during treatment.
- Monitor liver function and discontinue if symptoms of liver toxicity occur.
- The use of Zytiga along with prednisone/prednisolone in combination with radium Ra 223 dichloride is not recommended.
- Severe cases of low blood sugar have been reported in people with diabetes who are taking thiazolidinediones such as pioglitazone. Monitor blood sugar and adjust the diabetes medication if needed.
Zytiga drug interactions
When Zytiga is taken with other medications, it may change the way they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. You should discuss with your doctor whether any of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may interact with this medication, including:
- CYP3A4 enzyme inducers such as rifampin and phenytoin
Zytiga side effects
Some common side effects of Zytiga include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High blood sugar
- Joint pain
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Extreme tiredness
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Fluid retention (edema)
- Muscle weakness and pain
Zytiga can sometimes cause more serious side effects, including:
- Severe, life-threatening allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the face or throat, and trouble breathing)
- Irregular heartbeats or chest pain
- Low red blood cells
- Low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia)
- Liver disease including jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or eyes)
- Increased risk of bone fractures
Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible side effects you experience while taking Zytiga. You can report your adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your doctor can prescribe other medications if Zytiga is not right for you. They will vary by factors such as side effects and cost. Some FDA-approved alternatives to Zytiga include:
- Yonsa (abiraterone)
- Erleada (apalutamide)
- Casodex (bicalutamide)
- Firmagon (degarelix)
- Xtandi (enzalutamide)
- Nilandron (nilutamide)
- Taxotere (docetaxel)
Can you take Zytiga while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
Zytiga is not indicated for use in females. Men who have female partners who may become pregnant should use an effective form of contraception while on Zytiga and for 3 weeks after their last dose. There is no information available on whether Zytiga is found in breast milk or the effects it could have on the breastfed infant. You should discuss the risks and benefits of Zytiga with your healthcare provider if you have a female partner that may become pregnant while on this medication.
Does Zytiga let you live longer?
Studies show that Zytiga improves the overall survival rate in men with prostate cancer. After 3 years, about half of the men who had standard prostate cancer treatment were still alive, while 70% of those on Zytiga were still alive.
How long will you stay on Zytiga?
According to the clinical trials used to get FDA approval, patients with metastatic prostate cancer took Zytiga for 8 to 24 months. You may take Zytiga for longer. Your length of therapy with Zytiga will depend on several factors including your condition and how well you tolerate this medication.
How effective is Zytiga as a treatment for prostate cancer?
The results of the LATITUDE trial showed that adding Zytiga and prednisone to men with metastatic prostate cancer lowered their risk of death by 38%. It also increased the average time until the cancer worsened from almost 15 months to 33 months.
Is Zytiga a form of chemotherapy?
No, Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) is not chemotherapy. It is a hormonal therapy that is combined with prednisone to treat men with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
How much does Zytiga cost?
Currently, there is a generic Zytiga available on the market but it is still very expensive. The average cost of #120, generic Zytiga 250mg tablets is over $4,700. However, you can save on brand-name drugs like Zytiga through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.