Treatment Name: Abiraterone (Zytiga®) + Prednisone
Abiraterone (Zytiga®) + Prednisone is a Chemotherapy Regimen for Prostate Cancer
How does Abiraterone + Prednisone work?
The medications, Abiraterone and Prednisone, are designed to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells and stop them from becoming larger. Abiraterone + Prednisone work by decreasing the production of testosterone and other steroids, known as androgens, that are made by your body in three places: the testes, adrenal glands, and prostate tumors.
Goals of therapy:
Abiraterone + prednisone is taken to slow the progression of prostate cancer and shrink the size of tumors. This treatment may not cure the disease, but has been shown to prolong survival and decrease associated symptoms.
Common abiraterone (Zytiga®) starting Dose:
- Abiraterone (Zytiga®) 1000 mg (two 500 mg tablets OR four 250 mg tablets) swallowed whole, by mouth once daily on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after food)
- Prednisone 5 mg by mouth twice daily with food
Abiraterone and Prednisone are dispensed by a pharmacy and taken at home.
Typical duration of therapy is until the medication no longer works or until side effects make it so that it is difficult to take the medication. Talk to your doctor if you cannot tolerate the medications.
In clinical studies the most commonly reported side effects with abiraterone + prednisone are shown here. Side effects sometimes have percentage ranges [example: 39 - 44% fatigue] because they differed between clinical studies:
A note about side effect percentages
- High blood triglycerides (63%)
- High blood sugar (57%)
- Fatigue, or tiredness (39 - 44%)
- Back pain (30 - 32%)
- Edema, or general swelling (28 - 31%)
- Joint swelling (30%)
- Nausea (22 - 30%)
- Joint pain (27 - 28%)
- Low blood potassium (17 - 28%)
- Constipation (23 - 26%)
- Anemia [low red blood cell count] (23%)
- Hot Flushing (19 - 22%)
- Diarrhea (18 - 22%)
- High blood pressure (10 - 22%)
- Vomiting (21%)
- Urinary tract infection (12%)
Importantly, not all people who experience a side effect from Zytiga® (abiraterone) + prednisone will experience it in the same way. It may be mild in some or severe in others, depending upon the individual. Everybody is different. Additionally, side effects may vary over time. For some, side effects may be a reason to delay or switch treatment, reduce the dose, or avoid future treatment with a certain medication altogether.
Side effects may be treatable when they occur or preventable by taking certain medications before they happen. When medications are taken to prevent a problem, this is known as prophylaxis, or "prophy" for short.
After starting treatment with Zytiga® (abiraterone) + prednisone, be sure to come back and watch all of the side effect videos shown below. Each of these videos contain valuable information about side effect management that will hopefully help you to both feel better and stay out of the hospital.
How often is monitoring needed?
Labs (blood tests) may be checked monthly before starting a new cycle of treatment. Liver function tests may be checked every two weeks for the first three months and then monthly thereafter. Labs often include: prostate specific antigen (PSA), Complete Blood Count (CBC), Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), blood sugar level, blood pressure plus any others your doctor may order.
How often is imaging needed?
Imaging such as an X-ray and/or bone scans may be done before treatment and at regular intervals during treatment.
How might blood test results/imaging affect treatment?
Depending upon the results your doctor may advise to continue this treatment as planned, or delay, or switch therapy.
- Avoid eating food at least two hours before or at least one hour after taking a dose. Food increases exposure, or uptake, to this medication and may cause more side effects
- Adrenal problems may occur if prednisone is discontinued, the patient gets an infection, or is under stress
- Notify your doctor if you have any signs of urinary tract infection, such as painful or frequent urination or the urge to urinate with little urine coming out
- Abiraterone may cause a drop in blood potassium levels; talk to your doctor about how to monitor and treat low potassium
- Some medications, known as CYP3A4 inducers, CYP2C8 subtrates, and CYP2C6 substrates, may interact with Abiraterone
- A pharmacist should ALWAYS review your medication list to ensure that drug interactions are prevented or managed appropriately
- Clinical trials may exist for prostate cancer. Ask your doctor if any studies are currently enrolling in your area. If not, go to clinicaltrials.gov to search for other centers offering study medications
Patient Assistance & Co-payment Coverage
Patients under the age of 65 years, or those with private insurance plans:
If you have insurance and are looking for patient assistance or copay assistance for Abiraterone (Zytiga®) + Prednisone, we have provided links that may help.
Visit our Patient Assistance page and click the links to various patient assistance programs for help paying for Abiraterone (Zytiga®) + Prednisone. Depending upon your income, they may be able to help cover the cost of:
For Branded medications (may be available for generic medications too), check with the manufacturer to determine if a co-pay card is offered and if it could reduce your monthly copay.
- If you are uninsured, check with the manufacturer to determine if you are eligible to receive medication at no cost.
Medicare and Medicaid patients (Patients 65 years or older):
The clinic providing treatment will likely pre-authorize medications and immune therapies such as Abiraterone (Zytiga®) + Prednisone and are the best source to help you understand drug cost.
- Ask to speak with a patient assistance technician or financial counselor at the clinic or hospital administering this therapy.
What is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness is having a positive outlook balanced with a realistic understanding of current life events. This requires both an awareness and acceptance of your emotions. It is with this knowledge that you can develop a plan to take the necessary actions to positively impact your life.
Emotional wellness uses an ongoing process to continually reflect on the stressors of life in a constructive manner to move forward and create happiness.
Because emotional wellness is deeply connected with physical, social, and spiritual wellness, pursuing it often becomes particularly difficult in times of major illness. Despite this difficulty, working toward emotional wellness has been connected to improved treatment outcomes and a higher likelihood of achieving goals of therapy.
Learn more about pursuing emotional wellness while receiving treatment with Abiraterone (Zytiga®) + Prednisone