How Abiraterone Acetate Works and Side Effects

Abiraterone acetate is a prostate cancer treatment medication. It is used to treat “metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer” which is prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is no longer responding to hormonal therapies that aim to reduce levels of testosterone.

Abiraterone acetate works by preventing the body from producing androgens (male sex hormones) that stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. The drug It is usually given in conjunction with prednisone, a steroid medication that helps to reduce the associated side effects of taking abiraterone acetate. Prednisone also helps with suppressing androgen production.

For patients with advanced prostate cancer who have undergone prior medication or surgery, abiraterone acetate has been proved helpful in improving quality of life and prolonging life expectancy.

Abiraterone Hormone Therapy Drug
Image: Generic Abiraterone Acetate 250mg

How Does it Work?

Abiraterone acetate works by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme called CYP17A, which is involved with the production of testosterone. Testosterone can increase the growth of prostate cancer cells in the body. By inhibiting CYP17A1, abiraterone acetate reduces androgen production, which can result in lower levels of testosterone and other androgens. Prednisone is often prescribed with abiraterone acetate. It is a steroid medication that helps to reduce the side effects and can further suppress the production of androgens.

Side Effects

Abiraterone acetate, like all medications, can cause side effects, though not everyone experiences them. The following are some of the most common reported side effects:

  1. Changes in liver function tests
  2. Constipation
  3. Cough
  4. Diarrhoea
  5. Dizziness
  6. Fatigue
  7. Fluid retention (swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet)
  8. Headache
  9. High blood pressure
  10. Hot flushes
  11. Joint pain or swelling
  12. Muscle weakness
  13. Nausea or vomiting
  14. Shortness of breath

It is important to let your doctor know if you experience any side effects. They can help you manage the side effects or adjust your treatment if necessary.

Severe Warnings

There are several severe warnings associated with taking Abiraterone acetate including;

  1. An increased risk of fractures, especially in patients with osteoporosis or a history of fractures. To help prevent fractures, your doctor may need to monitor your bone density and consider additional treatments.
  2. A lowering of cortisol levels, resulting in adrenal insufficiency. This can result in fatigue, muscle weakness, and low blood pressure. Your doctor may need to monitor your adrenal function and adjust your treatment if necessary.
  3. Possible liver toxicity or failure, which can be fatal. While taking this medication, your doctor may need to monitor your liver function tests on a regular basis.
  4. Severe high blood pressure, which can be dangerous in some cases. Your doctor may need to check your blood pressure on a regular basis and adjust your treatment as needed.
  5. Severe allergic reactions in some people. Seek medical attention right away if you experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, or hives.

Before beginning treatment, you should discuss any concerns you have about the risks and benefits of with your doctor. Your doctor can assist you in understanding the potential risks and developing an appropriate treatment plan for you.

Dosage Information

Abiraterone acetate is typically taken as a tablet once daily on an empty stomach, at least one hour before or two hours after eating. The recommended dose for most patients is 1000 mg (four 250 mg tablets) daily, in combination with prednisone or prednisolone, a steroid medication that is taken daily as well.

The exact dose and duration of treatment may vary depending on several factors, including the patient’s overall health, treatment history, and the stage and severity of the cancer. Your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate dose and duration of treatment for you.

It is important to take Abiraterone acetate exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change the dose or stop taking the medication without first discussing it with your provider. Missing doses or stopping the medication prematurely can reduce the effectiveness of the treatment and may worsen the cancer.

If you have any questions or concerns about the dosage or administration of Abiraterone acetate, speak with your healthcare provider. They can help you understand how to take the medication safely and effectively.

Different Band Names

Abiraterone acetate is sold under alternate brand names in different countries. Some common brand names include;

  • Zytiga
  • Yonsa
  • Abirapro
  • Abirakast
  • Abiracure
  • X-Bira
  • Abiratas
  • Abiratero
  • Acetec

These are just a few examples and there may be other brand names depending on the country or region. It is important to note that these medications all contain the same active ingredient, Abiraterone acetate, and are used to treat similar conditions.

Do I have to take Prednisone with Abiraterone Acetate?

Prednisone is often prescribed to be taken along with Abiraterone acetate for the treatment of prostate cancer. Abiraterone acetate is a medication that blocks the production of androgens (male hormones) in the body, including testosterone. However, this medication can also cause an increase in a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which can lead to the overproduction of cortisol, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands.

Taking prednisone alongside Abiraterone acetate can help to prevent the production of excess cortisol and manage the side effects of the medication. Prednisone is a type of steroid medication that helps to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. It can also help to reduce the production of ACTH and cortisol, which can lead to improved control of the cancer.

In addition to managing side effects, prednisone can also enhance the effectiveness of Abiraterone acetate by blocking certain enzymes that convert inactive steroid precursors into active androgens. This can help to further reduce the levels of androgens in the body and slow the growth and spread of the prostate cancer.

It is important to note that prednisone can have its own side effects, so it is important to take it as prescribed by your doctor and to report any new or worsening symptoms to your healthcare team.

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost of Abiraterone acetate can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the country you are in, the dosage prescribed, and whether you have insurance coverage.

  • In the UK, the cost is covered by the NHS (National Health Service).
  • In the USA, the average wholesale price for a 30-day supply of Abiraterone acetate can range from $9,000 to $12,000. However, most patients do not pay the full amount out of pocket, as insurance may cover some or all of the cost.

There are also programs available that can help patients with the cost of Abiraterone acetate. The manufacturer of the medication offers a patient assistance program for eligible patients who meet certain criteria, such as having a low income or no insurance coverage. This program provides the medication at no cost or at a reduced cost.

Additionally, some non-profit organisations and foundations offer financial assistance for cancer medications, including Abiraterone acetate. Your healthcare team or a social worker may be able to provide information and help you apply for these programmes if you are eligible.

It is important to talk to your healthcare team about the cost and don’t be afraid to ask about any available programmes. They can also provide guidance on other options for managing the cost of cancer treatment.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

1 Comment

  1. Peter T

    I had really bad Diarrhoea. Definitely, keep drinking lots of squash otherwise I found I felt very ill, not good 🙁

Leave A Comment?