The FDA approval of Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) for men with advanced prostate cancer defines the men who qualify to receive the drug. To qualify you must have advanced prostate cancer and meet all of the three criteria below:

1- Men who are metastatic.
2- Men who failed hormone therapy also known as castrate resistant or hormone refractory.
3- Men who have had chemotherapy with taxotere

Zytiga is not considered chemotherapy, but is a second line hormone therapy.

The treatment involves taking four pills a day along with prednisone.

The main side effect is fluid retention, with about 1/3 of men on the treatment having this experience.

If you do not meet the qualifications set by the FDA approval, it still might be possible to get the drug “off label,” but you will probably not have insurance coverage for the treatment.

Joel T. Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.