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Clinical Trial Measures Impact Of Food On Anti-Cancer Drug Effects

Posted Apr 13 2012 4:53pm

An unusual clinical trial based at the University of Chicago Medicine is seeking to determine whether a drug approved for patients with advanced prostate cancer might be safer and just as effective if taken at a much lower dose with food instead of at the full dose on an empty stomach.

The results of the trial could affect future dosage recommendations, potentially saving patients who take the drug thousands of dollars a month.

Abiraterone acetate (trade named Zytiga) has a greater positive food effect–an increase in the mount absorbed when taken with food–than any other marketed drug that is labeled to be taken on an empty stomach. Five times as much of the drug is taken up with a low-fat meal as on an empty stomach, and up to 10 times as much with a high-fat meal. Yet patients are told not to eat for two hours before and for one hour after taking their pills. As a result, taking Zytiga as directed means the amount of the drug absorbed by the body to fight cancer is decreased by 80 to 90 percent.

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