Enzalutamide

Enzalutamide is an anti-androgen medicine used for the treatment of prostate cancer. This is a prescription already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Prostate cancer happens in the prostate which is a small walnut-shaped gland in men that creates the seminal fluid. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Usually, prostate cancer grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. More advanced prostate cancer may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Blood in semen
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Bone pain

You can reduce your risk of prostate cancer if you:

  1. Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables

Avoid high-fat foods and instead focus on choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to your health. Whether you can prevent prostate cancer through diet has yet to be conclusively proved. But eating a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables can improve your overall health.

  • Choose healthy foods over supplements

No studies have shown that supplements play a role in reducing your risk of prostate cancer. Instead, choose foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals so that you can maintain healthy levels of vitamins in your body.

  • Exercise most days of the week

Exercise improves your overall health. It helps you maintain your weight and improves your mood. Try to exercise most days of the week. If you’re new to exercise, start slow, and work your way up to more exercise time each day.

  • Maintain a healthy weight

If your present weight is healthy, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, add more exercise, and reduce the number of calories you eat each day. 

  • Talk to your doctor about the increased risk of prostate cancer

Men with a high risk of prostate cancer may consider medications or other treatments to reduce their risk.

Doctors know that prostate cancer begins when some cells in your prostate become abnormal. Mutations in the abnormal cells’ DNA cause the cells to grow more rapidly than normal cells do. The abnormal cells continue living when other cells would die. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby tissue. Some abnormal cells can also break off and spread to other parts of the body.

How does Enzalutamide work?

Prostate cancers are sensitive to testosterone and their growth is increased in the presence of this hormone. Testosterone is produced by the adrenal glands, the testicles, and by cells in the prostate tumor itself. Standard treatment for prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland involves stopping the production of testosterone by the testicles. It is to let slow the growth of the cancer cells. This is usually achieved with medicines called LHRH or gonadorelin analogs or with surgery to the testicles. However, for some men, this treatment does not work because even when testosterone levels have been reduced to undetectable levels, signals from the testosterone receptors can still cause cancer to progress.

Enzalutamide is used for prostate cancers that are resistant to medical or surgical castration as described above. It works by blocking several steps in the androgen signaling pathway, including stopping testosterone from acting on the androgen receptors on the cancer cells. This decreases the growth of prostate cancer cells. This can also kill the cancer cells and cause the tumor to shrink.

How to use Enzalutamide?

Enzalutamide should be swallowed whole with a full glass of water. Do not chew or open the capsules. The capsules can be taken either with or without a meal/snack. The usual dose is four capsules taken once a day, at the same time each day. However, it is important to follow the instructions given by your doctor. Your dose may need to be reduced if you experience side effects.

If you forget to take your dose of this prescription at your usual time, you should take it as soon as you remember. However, if you miss a dose for a whole day, just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose, as usual, the following day. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.

Side effects

  • Back pain
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Flushing
  • Hot flashes
  • Muscle weakness or stiffness
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling tired
  • Swelling in your hands or feet
  • Burning pain, numbness, or prickly feeling under your skin 
  • Itching
  • Dry skin
  • Nosebleeds
  • Cold symptoms such as sneezing, sore throat, or stuffy nose

Let your doctor know if you have:

  • Trouble walking or standing up
  • Pain or weakness in your lower body
  • Severe lower back pain 
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sudden loss of bladder or bowel control 

Warnings 

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what nonprescription and prescription medications, nutritional supplements, or vitamins you are taking or plan to take. 
  • You should know that this medication may decrease fertility in men. However, you should not assume that your female partner cannot become pregnant. If your partner is pregnant, you must use a condom whenever you have sex during your treatment with Enzalutamide. If your partner is not pregnant but could become pregnant, you must use a condom and another form of birth control whenever you have sex during your treatment and for 3 months after your final dose.
  • You should know that this drug may cause seizures. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
  • Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture.
  • It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children. Many containers are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily.