Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Fluid and electrolyte balance: Abiraterone may cause fluid to be retained by your body and the level of potassium in the blood to change while taking this medication. If you experience symptoms of fluid and low potassium levels such as muscle weakness, muscle twitches, or a pounding, racing heartbeat, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the levels of the electrolytes in your blood while you are taking this medication.
Heart disease: The effects of abiraterone on people with heart disease have not been studied. Abiraterone can cause increased blood pressure and fluid retention, which may affect how well your heart works. If you have a history of heart disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may want to test your liver function regularly with blood tests while you are taking this medication.
Abiraterone may reduce liver function and can cause liver failure. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Muscle effects: In rare cases, serious muscle damage has been associated with the use of abiraterone. Your risk may be increased if you are taking other medications which can cause this effect (i.e. "statin" cholesterol-lowering medications). Report any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, weakness or cramps, or any brown or discoloured urine to your doctor immediately, particularly if you are also experiencing malaise (a general feeling of being unwell) or fever.
Pregnancy: Abiraterone should not be used by women. It is not known if abiraterone is found in semen. If you are engaged in sexual activity with a pregnant woman, a condom should be used. If you are engaged in sexual activity with a woman who may become pregnant, a condom and a second effective method of birth control should be used. Condoms must be used during treatment with abiraterone and for one week after treatment has ended.
Due to the way that abiraterone works, it is possible that exposure to this medication during pregnancy may harm the developing baby. To prevent accidental exposure to abiraterone, women who handle these tablets should wear gloves.
Breast-feeding: Abiraterone should not be used by women. It is not known if abiraterone passes into breast milk. To prevent accidental exposure to abiraterone, women who handle these tablets should wear gloves.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.