Zytiga or abiraterone

Zytiga or abiraterone

This patient-friendly article is about chemotherapy drug, Abiraterone acetate trade name Zytiga. It was approved by the FDA since 2011 as a medication involved in treating prostate cancer.

It works by inhibiting the production of androgen hormones which can promote growth of prostatic tumours. The inhibition of enzymes in the adrenal glands could result in the over the productivity of mineralocorticosteroids (hormones that regulates the balance of ions such as potassium and sodium, and water) which is one of the adverse reactions that will be mentioned further in the information.

Approved by

the Medical Board. 

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Abiraterone acetate is used in combination with prednisone to treat metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in men after receiving prior chemotherapy containing docetaxel.

The medication is a pill and dosage of 1,000 mg is taken on an empty stomach (approximately 1- 2 hours before or after a meal) once a day taken along with prednisone (5 mg) twice daily. 


Common side effects such as headaches, dizziness, yellow skin and eyes, fatigue, hypertension (the elevation of blood pressure) and fluid retention.

Precautions: Because of the mechanism of the drug causing changes in the body to attack the cancer cells, there’s a possibility that it could result in adverse reactions such as:

  • Low level of potassium (hypokalemia), fluid retention and cardiovascular side effects 
  • Liver damage due to chemicals (hepatotoxicity) 
  • The ability to not produce sufficient amounts of steroid hormones in the adrenal glands (adrenocortical insufficiency) 
  • Usage during pregnancy can cause damaging of the embryo (embryo-fetal toxicity).

Go to: 10 ways to improve your chemotherapy success and reduce side-effects

Other articles that you may find interesting are:

  1. A diet for Chemotherapy
  2. Immunotherapy overview
  3. A to Z Guide to Complementary Therapies

Go to: Return to the CANCERactive drug list

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