An Overview of Abiraterone Acetate Tablets for Prostate Cancer

Abiraterone acetate is a medicine used to treat prostate cancer in men. It comes as a tablet taken by mouth called Abiraterone Acetate Tablets USP 250 mg.

What is prostate cancer?

The prostate is a small gland located below the bladder in men. It produces some of the fluid that makes up semen. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in this gland start to grow out of control. The cancer cells can spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, especially the bones.

Prostate cancer often relies on the hormone testosterone to help it grow. Abiraterone works by reducing testosterone levels. This can help slow or stop the growth of prostate cancer.

When are Abiraterone tablets used?

Abiraterone tablets are used:

  • In men with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and no longer responds to hormone treatment
  • In men with early stage prostate cancer that is still responding to hormone therapy. In this case, it is used together with additional hormone therapy.

How Abiraterone tablets work

  • Abiraterone tablets reduce testosterone levels in the body. Testosterone helps prostate cancer cells to grow. Lowering testosterone can slow or stop cancer growth.
  • It stops the body from producing testosterone by blocking an enzyme called CYP17.
  • It may also have additional anti-cancer effects by blocking production of certain other hormones.

Taking Abiraterone tablets (dosage, administration)

  • The usual recommended dose is one 1,000 mg tablet taken once per day.
  • Abiraterone must be taken on an empty stomach, at least 2 hours after eating and 1 hour before your next meal. This helps your body absorb the medication.
  • Swallow the tablet whole with water. Do not break or chew the tablet.
  • Take prednisone or prednisolone tablets every day at the dose prescribed by your doctor while taking abiraterone. These additional corticosteroid medicines help prevent side effects.
  • Do not stop taking either abiraterone or prednisone/prednisolone unless directed by your doctor.

Side effects and risks

As with any medication, abiraterone tablets can cause side effects:

  • Common side effects affecting over 1 in 10 people may include fluid retention in the legs or feet, low potassium levels, high blood pressure, infections, diarrhea, and elevated liver enzymes.
  • Uncommon side effects affecting up to 1 in 100 people may include muscle weakness/pain, adrenal gland problems, and abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Rare but serious risks include liver injury, bone loss, heart problems including heart attack, and allergic reactions in the lungs.
  • Abiraterone might worsen bone loss associated with hormone therapy for prostate cancer. Work with your doctor to monitor your bone health.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you develop severe nausea/vomiting, yellowing skin/eyes, dark urine, muscle weakness, chest pain, or shortness of breath.

Monitoring during treatment

  • Your doctor will order periodic blood tests, usually monthly, to check for side effects such as liver problems and low potassium levels.
  • You may also need heart monitoring, blood pressure checks, and other tests.
  • It’s important to see your doctor regularly and undergo recommended testing while taking abiraterone. Report any new or worsening symptoms.

Tips for managing treatment

  • Take abiraterone and prednisone exactly as prescribed. Mark your daily doses on a calendar. Set phone alerts if helpful.
  • Avoid grapefruit and certain herbal products like St. John’s wort, which can interact with abiraterone. Always check with your pharmacist before starting supplements.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day.
  • Reduce sodium in your diet if directed by your doctor for fluid retention.
  • Exercise if appropriate to help manage side effects like bone loss. Start slowly and check with your doctor.
  • Communicate openly with your care team about how you are feeling during treatment. They can help manage side effects.

Warnings

Abiraterone should not be taken by:

  • Women, especially pregnant women. It can harm unborn babies.
  • People with severe liver problems.

Additional precautions:

  • Use barrier contraception if you are having sex with a woman who is or could become pregnant, to protect the unborn child.
  • Abiraterone tablets contain lactose. Tell your doctor if you have a lactose intolerance.
  • Tell your doctor about any other medications, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. Interactions may affect how abiraterone works.

In summary

  • Abiraterone acetate tablets are an important prostate cancer treatment option for men whose disease has advanced despite initial hormone therapy.
  • Abiraterone works by lowering testosterone levels. This helps slow cancer growth.
  • Correct dosage and administration on an empty stomach is key. Take prednisone daily as prescribed to prevent side effects.
  • Abiraterone does have some common and rare side effects that require monitoring. Stay in close contact with your medical team.
  • Speak to your doctor to find out if abiraterone treatment is right for your specific prostate cancer situation.