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What Is Abiraterone Used For?

Abiraterone is prescribed for treating advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other areas of the body and has not responded to other medical treatment. This medicine works by decreasing the amount of testosterone produced in the adrenal gland and in the cancer cells. Abiraterone is only approved for use in combination with prednisone and is not approved for children under the age of 18.

An Overview of Uses for Abiraterone

Abiraterone acetate (Zytiga™) is a prescription medication used in combination with prednisone in certain men with late-stage prostate cancer. This drug may help to extend the life of men with cancer that is resistant to other treatments.
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the prostate gland. It is the second-most common form of cancer in men, behind skin cancer. After prostate cancer is diagnosed, a healthcare provider will determine the stage of the cancer (this is also known as staging).
Staging is based on the size of the cancer tumor and whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. In general, there are four stages of prostate cancer: Stages I-IV. Each stage describes progressively more advanced cancer (see Stages of Prostate Cancer for more information).
Prostate cancer that has spread widely to other areas of the body, such as to the bones, lymph nodes, or other sites, is referred to as Stage IV prostate cancer. Sometimes the terms late-stage prostate cancer or advanced prostate cancer are also used to describe Stage IV prostate cancer.
Early stages of prostate cancer may be treated with surgery or radiation. However, once the cancer has advanced to Stage IV and has spread beyond the prostate gland, it is unlikely to be cured with surgery. The goal of treatment at this point is usually to slow down the progression of the cancer, and help reduce symptoms. Treatment options may include:
  • Hormone therapy
  • External beam radiation (radiation from outside the body)
  • Chemotherapy.
Testosterone stimulates the growth of prostate tumors. Hormone therapy and surgery help reduce testosterone levels, thus slowing down the growth of the cancer cells. These therapies can control prostate cancer for a long time. However, over time, cancer cells may continue to grow despite low testosterone levels. This type of cancer is referred to as castration-resistant prostate cancer.
Abiraterone is prescribed for men who have castration-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to other areas of the body and who have already received chemotherapy with docetaxel (Taxotere®). Abiraterone is used in combination with prednisone.
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Abiraterone Drug Information

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