Treatment

Abiraterone

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Who can have abiraterone?

Abiraterone is suitable for men with advanced prostate cancer that has stopped responding to other hormone therapy and chemotherapy treatments. Abiraterone should be available for these men on the NHS in the UK. If you have any trouble getting it, then please contact Prostate Cancer UK.

Abiraterone is also effective in men who have stopped responding to hormone therapy but have not yet had chemotherapy. It has recently been licensed in Europe for these men. However, NICE have not yet recommended that it is available for these men, and it is not widely available in the UK. But if your doctor thinks it is suitable for you, they may be able to apply for you to get it. Read more about getting new treatments.

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How does abiraterone treat prostate cancer?

Abiraterone is taken as a tablet and works by stopping the production of testosterone. Without testosterone, the cancer cells are not able to grow, wherever they are in the body.

You will also take a steroid called prednisone to reduce the risk of side effects. Side effects of abiraterone include:

  • fluid retention
  • high blood pressure
  • liver problems
  • a lower than normal level of potassium in the blood, which could make you feel tired and you may be at risk of a fast irregular heartbeat. Contact your doctor if you have this.

You will have your blood pressure checked regularly, and have blood tests to check how well your liver is working.

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References

"In a recent clinical trial, men who received abiraterone lived about four months longer than those who were given a placebo."

This comes from:

de Bono JS, Logothetis CJ, Molina A, Fizazi K, North S, Chu L et al.. Abiraterone and increased survival in metastatic prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2011;364:1995-2005.

"Abiraterone is also effective in men who have stopped responding to hormone therapy but have not yet had chemotherapy."
This comes from:
Ryan CJ, Smith MR, de Bono JS, et al. Abiraterone in Metastatic Prostate Cancer without Previous Chemotherapy. N Engl J Med. 2013;368(2):138-148.