Zytiga is a medication used in the treatment of two types of cancer, namely metastatic high-risk castration prostate cancer and metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. It has an active ingredient, abiraterone, a hormone therapy used in lowering male hormones in the body.

Doctors prescribe Zytiga alongside prednisone in treating prostate cancer that has spread to other body parts. Prednisone is essential in decreasing the risk of certain side effects brought about by Zytiga that could be potentially fatal.

Typically, Zytiga is administered to patients who have undergone chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

How Does Zytiga Work?

Zytiga belongs to a class of drugs called androgen biosynthesis inhibitors that reduce the production of androgen, a male hormone that helps tumors grow. The medication prevents androgen action in the prostate glands, testes, and tumor tissues, slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

Precautions and Warnings with Zytiga

Zytiga comes with some precautions and warnings. Before being administered the medication you must consider the following precautions and warnings.

  • Hypoglycemia: Zytiga can increase the risk of having low blood sugar levels, especially in patients suffering from diabetes mellitus. If you experience headaches, dizziness, and blurred vision inform your doctor immediately.
  • Adrenal Insufficiency: Patients may be at a higher risk of developing adrenal insufficiency when using Zytiga, therefore, close monitoring is essential when using the medication.
  • Hepatotoxicity: This medication may cause severe toxic hepatitis including conditions such as acute liver failure, and fulminant hepatitis that can be fatal. To prevent such issues, your doctor should carry out blood tests before and during treatment.
  • Swelling: People suffering from kidney conditions like kidney failure are at a higher risk of experiencing swelling in the legs and feet while taking Zytiga due to fluid buildup.
  • Cardiovascular Diseases: Patients suffering from heart diseases such as heart attack, should inform the doctor before taking the medication because Zytiga may worsen the heart condition.
  • Liver Conditions: Zytiga may cause the development of certain liver conditions or may worsen your conditions if you have liver complications. Tell your doctor about your underlying condition before taking the medication.

Zytiga Side Effects

Zytiga can cause various adverse reactions that can range from mild to severe. Not every patient gets these side effects, but if you experience them seek immediate medical assistance.

Common Side Effects

  • Profuse sweating
  • Bruising
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Cold symptoms such as sore throat, stuffy nose, and sneezing
  • Vomiting

Severe Side Effects

  • Swelling in your feet or pain in the legs
  • Low blood sugar level
  • Allergic reactions
  • Heart conditions such as chest pains and shortness of breath
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Liver conditions

Drug Interactions with Zytiga

Zytiga is taken concurrently with prednisone but it may interact with different medications, increasing the risk of adverse side effects or tampering with the effectiveness of the medication. It is crucial to let your doctor know about any other drugs you are currently taking to avoid possible interactions.

Drug Interaction
DexamethasoneThe interactions between Zytiga and Dexamethasone may cause certain adverse effects such as hypertension and fluid retention.
RifampinConcurrent use of Rifampin (Rifadin) and Zytiga can reduce the effectiveness of Zytiga and decrease blood sugar levels.
AtorvastatinUsing atorvastatin concurrently with Zytiga may lead to an increased risk of muscle-related side effects such as myopathy.
DigoxinThe combination of Digoxin and Zytiga can result in an increase in blood levels of digoxin potentially leading to toxicity.
WarfarinThe medication may intensify the effects of warfarin such as an increased risk of bleeding.
PhenytoinThe co-administration of phenytoin (Dilantin) and Zytiga decreases the blood levels of phenytoin potentially reducing its efficacy.

Strengths and Dosages of Zytiga

The strengths and dosages of Zytiga vary according to factors like your age, any concurrent medication you are currently taking, the condition you are suffering from, and the severity of the condition.

Zytiga comes in two forms film-coated and uncoated.

Age Dosage  No. of times a day
 Minimum dosage Maximum dosage  
Adult250mg uncoated with 5mg prednisone500mg coated with 5mg prednisoneOnce per day

The prescription of Zytiga is not administered to children under the age of 18 years without the doctor’s advice. For adults, doctors usually give a prescription of the standard dosage and then make adjustments as needed to find the right amount for your condition.

Take the medication on an empty stomach, ensuring a gap of at least 2 hours before or after eating. Swallow the medicine as a whole, and avoid chewing or crushing it.

Cost of Zytiga in America

Zytiga usually costs $11,474 for a supply of 120 tablets 250mg each, but this price may vary depending the pharmacy you go to. It is important to note that this price is for individuals paying out of pocket and may not be applicable if you are using insurance coverage.

There’s also a generic version of Zytiga called abiraterone, which is slightly cheaper than the brand-name medication. The cost of the generic version is approximately $143.33 for a supply of 30 tablets.

Zytiga Alternatives

Alternative medications offer different mechanisms of action and they can be prescribed based on various factors such as the patients’ health status, stage of cancer, treatment goals, and tolerability to the drug. There are different alternative medications used in treating prostate cancer. They include:

  • Enzalutamide: This medicine is taken orally, and works by blocking the effect of male hormones on the cancer cells. It is usually prescribed when the prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland.
  • Docetaxel: It is a chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. The medication interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. It is administered intravenously after every 3 weeks.
  • Other medications: Other alternative medications are, Radium-223, Cabazitaxel, Apalutamide, and Sipuleucel-T.

FAQs of Zytiga

How long does it take for Zytiga to get out of your system?

Typically, Zytiga has a half-life elimination of about 12 ± 5 hours. Ideally, the drug clears completely from your system after 4 to 5 half-lives.

Why take prednisone with Zytiga?

Zytiga inhibits cortisol production which may cause an increase in side effects like high blood pressure and low blood potassium. Prednisone helps by replacing the lost cortisol, mitigating these side effects.

How long does it take Zytiga to lower PSA?

The time it takes for Zytiga to lower PSA varies among different patients. It can take as early as two weeks to several months of using Zytiga to start experiencing significant PSA reductions.

How does Zytiga work?

The medication inhibits an enzyme referred to as CYP17 which produces androgens in the body. By blocking androgen production, Zytiga helps in slowing down the progression of the cancer cells and improves the treatment outcome.

What happens if you stop taking Zytiga

If you stop taking the medication it may lead to the revival of prostate cancer progression due to the reactivation of androgen production, worsening symptoms and potential recurrence of cancer-related conditions such as urinary problems.

How long will I need to be treated with Zytiga?

The duration of Zytiga depends on your response, disease progression, and overall health. Typically, patients should take the medication for as long as it is tolerable and provides therapeutic benefits.

Who manufactures Zytiga?

Zytiga medication is manufactured and marketed by Janssen Biotech, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson.

Which is better Xtandi vs Zytiga?

In patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer that has spread, Xtandi medication is usually considered more effective than Zytiga, however, it is frequently associated with side effects such as fatigue.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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