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Abiraterone - Mechanism of Action, Indications, uses, Administration, Side Effects

Chemical formula:

  • Abiraterone is an orally administered medication with the chemical name (3β)-17-(3-pyridyl)androsta-5,16-dien-3-ol. Its molecular formula is C24H31NO, and it has a molecular weight of 349.51 g/mol.

Mechanism of Action:

  • Abiraterone works by inhibiting the enzyme called cytochrome P450 17 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP17A1), which is involved in the production of androgens (male hormones) in the body.

  • It acts as a potent and selective inhibitor of CYP17A1, blocking the enzyme's activity in the testes, adrenal glands, and prostate tumor tissue. By inhibiting CYP17A1, abiraterone decreases the production of androgens, including testosterone, which are essential for the growth of prostate cancer cells.

  • Indications and Uses: Abiraterone is primarily indicated for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), a form of prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is no longer responsive to medical or surgical treatments that lower testosterone levels.

  • It is specifically used in combination with prednisone or prednisolone, which are corticosteroids that help manage some of the side effects of abiraterone treatment.


  • Abiraterone is available in the form of tablets for oral administration. It is usually taken once a day on an empty stomach, either one hour before or two hours after eating.

  • It is essential to follow the specific dosing instructions provided by the healthcare provider or the instructions on the prescription label.

  • The dosage and duration of abiraterone treatment may vary depending on individual patient factors, the stage of prostate cancer, and the overall treatment plan determined by the healthcare professional.

Side Effects:

  • Like any medication, abiraterone can cause certain side effects. Some common side effects include:

  1. Fatigue or weakness

  2. Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  3. Fluid retention or swelling in the legs or feet

  4. Hot flashes

  5. Joint pain

  6. Diarrhea

  7. Urinary tract infection

  8. Cough or shortness of breath

  9. Nausea

  10. Vomiting

  11. Increased levels of liver enzymes (AST and ALT) in blood tests

  • It is important to note that not all individuals experience these side effects, and some may experience different or additional side effects. It is crucial to promptly inform the healthcare provider about any adverse effects experienced during abiraterone treatment.

  • Additionally, abiraterone may cause adrenal insufficiency, a condition where the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol. Adrenal insufficiency can manifest as fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, dizziness, or low blood pressure. Patients taking abiraterone are usually co-administered with low-dose corticosteroids (such as prednisone or prednisolone) to prevent or manage adrenal insufficiency.

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional for more detailed information about abiraterone, its potential side effects, and any specific concerns related to an individual's health condition.


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