How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Cyproterone belongs to a group of medications known as steroidal antiandrogens. It is used to treat advanced prostate cancer.Antiandrogens such as cyproterone block the effect of the hormone called testosterone. This causes a reduction in the production of testosterone in the testicles, which prostate cancer cells require for growth.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each white to faintly yellowish, round, flat-sided, bevelled-edged tablet, imprinted one side "BV" in a regular hexagon, other side scored, contains cyproterone acetate 50 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: colloidal anhydrous silicica, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, maize starch, and povidone 25.

How should I use this medication?

Cyproterone is available as an oral (by mouth) tablet and as a long-acting injectable. The recommended dose for cyproterone tablets is 200 mg to 300 mg (4 to 6 tablets) daily, divided into 2 to 3 doses and taken after meals.

For men who have had an orchiectomy (removal of testicles), a lower dose of 100 mg to 200 mg daily in divided doses is recommended. The recommended dose for the long-acting form of cyproterone (Androcur® Depot) is 300 mg in injected into a muscle once a week.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

Cyproterone can cause weakness and tiredness when you first start to take it. After about the third month, your body will become accustomed to the medication and this effect should be lessened.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Alcohol intake should be limited while taking cyproterone because it may reduce the effectiveness of the medication.

Store the medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic or sensitive to cyproterone or any ingredients of this medication
  • have active liver disease or reduced liver function
  • have reduced kidney function

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • changes in walking and balance (clumsiness or unsteadiness)
  • hair loss
  • impotence
  • inability to move legs or arms
  • increase in bowel movements and loose stools
  • increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight
  • loss of strength or energy
  • reduced (or increased) sexual interest
  • skin bleeding, blistering, coldness, or discoloration
  • swelling of the breasts or breast soreness
  • unusual increase in hair growth
  • weight gain

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abdominal pain or tenderness
  • back pain
  • blisters
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clay coloured stools
  • confusion
  • cough
  • depression
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • fainting or light-headedness when getting up
  • fast heartbeat
  • hallucinations
  • hives
  • increase in blood pressure
  • increase in hunger and/or thirst
  • lower back or side pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • painful or difficult urination
  • red, thickened or scaly skin
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or in mouth
  • stiff neck
  • stomach ache
  • swollen and painful glands
  • tightness in chest
  • unexplained weight loss
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • vision changes
  • wheezing
  • yellow eyes or skin

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • bloody or black, tarry stools or blood in urine
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • irregular breathing
  • pains in chest, groin, or legs, especially calves of legs
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • seizures
  • sudden and severe weakness in arm and/or leg on one side of the body
  • sudden loss of coordination
  • sudden slurred speech
  • temporary blindness

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

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.

Alcohol: The effectiveness of cyproterone may be reduced if you consume alcohol. You should limit the amount of alcohol you drink when taking this medication.

Depression: Cyproterone use has occasionally been associated with an increased incidence of depressive mood changes, especially with start of therapy. You should notify your doctor if you've had depression in the past.

Diabetes: Cyproterone may cause blood glucose levels to increase if you have diabetes mellitus.

Heart disease: Cyproterone can cause fluid to accumulate in the body. If you have heart disease, be cautious when using this medication because your heart may have to work harder.

Liver disease: Cyproterone can cause damage to the liver. It usually develops after several months of treatment. Your doctor will monitor your liver function with blood tests if there are any symptoms or signs of liver damage.

Pregnancy: Cyproterone is not for use by women.

Breast-feeding: Cyproterone is not for use by women.

Children: Cyproterone is not recommended for use in children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between cyproterone and any of the following:

  • ethinyl estradiol
  • testosterone and androgens

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, decongestants, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.