Better Life-Saving Drugs For Prostate Cancer

The drug abiraterone (Zytiga) interrupts the androgen-making process in prostate cancer cells. This blocks androgen at 3 places—in the testes, adrenal glands, and tumor tissue—and makes it harder for prostate cancer cells to grow. The medicine is used along with androgen deprivation therapy in people with hormone-naive metastatic prostate cancer. In a new study, Zytiga plus androgen deprivation therapy improved overall survival and slowed radiographic progression. The research will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting press conference today.

Abiraterone can be taken by mouth or given intravenously. It is usually taken once a day in the morning. The medicine may cause some side effects, such as changes in your blood levels of potassium and liver function. It can also cause skin problems and an upset stomach. You should tell your doctor if you have any of these side effects.

Your doctor may also give you other medicines to help with the side effects of Zytiga. These can include steroid medicines, such as prednisone. Your doctor will also want to know if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription drugs, including vitamins, herbs, and supplements. They may need to change the doses of these medications.

Zytiga is sometimes given with a chemomedicine, such as docetaxel (Taxotere) or cabazitaxel (Jevtana). This combination increased survival in some people with advanced prostate cancer. In some cases, however, combining Zytiga with chemotherapy didn’t improve survival. In these cases, your doctor may need to adjust the doses of abiraterone and other medications you are taking.

In some cases, your PSA level won’t fall while you are taking abiraterone. This doesn’t mean that the drug isn’t working. Your doctor will do other tests to see how your cancer is growing, and they will probably suggest you continue to take the medication. They might also recommend that you have scans, such as a CT or MRI scan, to check that your cancer hasn’t spread.

You should not take Zytiga with Xofigo (sipuleucel-T), a radioactive drug, unless you are part of a clinical trial. This combination increases your risk of bone fractures and death. You should also not take it with other radioactive treatments, such as Provenge (sipuleucel-T), which helps make your immune system more active.

Abiraterone is a brand-name drug, and there is no generic version. The cost of the medication can vary, depending on your insurance coverage and the pharmacy you use. If you have insurance, ask your doctor and pharmacist about discounts and other ways to lower the cost. Store the medication at room temperature and keep it out of reach of children. It is important to use this medication exactly as your doctor prescribes it. Using the medication past its expiration date can harm you.

Better Life-Saving Drugs For Prostate Cancer