Frequently Asked Questions

abarelix

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Plenaxis

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists Hormones/antineoplastics


What is abarelix?

Abarelix reduces the amount of testosterone produced in the body.

Abarelix is used in the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

Abarelix may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about abarelix?

In some cases, the use of abarelix has resulted in serious allergic reactions. An allergic reaction may occur after any injection of the medication, including, but not limited to the first dose. Patients should be observed in the doctor's office for at least 30 minutes following each dose so that immediate treatment of an allergic reaction can be obtained if needed.

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Treatment with abarelix may become less effective over time in some patients. Monitoring blood levels of testosterone will be done on a regular basis with blood tests to monitor the effectiveness of the medication.

Abarelix is not intended for use by women. Abarelix is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that abarelix will cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant or if you could become pregnant during treatment.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using abarelix?

Before using abarelix, tell your doctor if you

  • have irregular heartbeats;

  • have liver problems;

  • have osteoporosis; or

  • weigh more than 225 pounds.

You may not be able to use abarelix, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Abarelix is not intended for use by women. Abarelix is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that abarelix will cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant or if you could become pregnant during treatment.

Abarelix is not intended for use by women. It is not known whether abarelix passes into breast milk. Do not use this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use abarelix?

Abarelix must be administered by a qualified healthcare provider.

Abarelix is administered as an injection into the muscle.

In some cases, the use of abarelix has resulted in serious allergic reactions. An allergic reaction may occur after any injection of the medication, including, but not limited to the first dose. Patients should be observed in the doctor's office for at least 30 minutes following each dose so that immediate treatment of an allergic reaction can be obtained if needed.

Treatment with abarelix may become less effective over time in some patients. Monitoring blood levels of testosterone will be done on a regular basis with blood tests to monitor the effectiveness of the medication.

It is important to use abarelix regularly to get the most benefit.

Abarelix vials for injection should be stored at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of abarelix.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of abarelix is unlikely to occur. If you do suspect that an overdose has occurred, contact your doctor, hospital emergency room, or poison control center for advice.

What should I avoid while using abarelix?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activities while using abarelix. Follow any special instructions given by your doctor.

Abarelix side effects

In some cases, the use of abarelix has resulted in serious allergic reactions. An allergic reaction may occur after any injection of the medication, including, but not limited to the first dose. Patients should be observed in the doctor's office for at least 30 minutes following each dose so that immediate treatment of an allergic reaction can be obtained if needed.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience

  • hot flashes;

  • sleep disturbances;

  • breast enlargement or pain;

  • diarrhea or constipation;

  • swelling;

  • nausea;

  • dizziness;

  • headache;

  • fatigue; or

  • changes with or difficulty urinating.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Abarelix dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Prostate Cancer:

100 mg administered intramuscularly to the buttock on day 1, 15, 29 (week 4) and every 4 weeks thereafter.

What other drugs will affect abarelix?

It is not known whether abarelix will interact with other medicines. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products during treatment with abarelix.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about abarelix written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Abarelix is available with a prescription under the brand name Plenaxis as an injection. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.02. Revision Date: 2/13/04 4:10:02 PM.

Not all side effects for abarelix may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to abarelix: powder for suspension, solution

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by abarelix. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking abarelix:

Less common
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • fast or irregular breathing
  • itching
  • skin rash
  • swelling of the eyes or eyelids
  • tightness in the chest and/or wheezing
  • trouble with breathing

Some of the side effects that can occur with abarelix may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common
  • Back pain
  • bladder pain
  • breast enlargement
  • breast pain
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • body aches or pain
  • burning while urinating
  • chills
  • cough
  • decrease in frequency of urination
  • decrease in urine volume
  • diarrhea
  • difficult, burning, or painful urination
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • difficulty in passing urine (dribbling)
  • dizziness
  • ear congestion
  • feeling of warmth
  • fever
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • headache
  • loss of voice
  • lower back or side pain
  • nasal congestion
  • nausea
  • nipple enlargement
  • pain
  • rapid weight gain
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • sweating
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • trouble in holding or releasing urine
  • trouble with sleeping
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • unusual weight gain or loss

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to abarelix: intramuscular powder for injection

Endocrine

Endocrine side effects have included hot flushes (79%), sleep disturbance (44%), breast enlargement (30%), and breast pain/nipple tenderness (20%) as pharmacological consequences of androgen deprivation.[Ref]

General

General side effects including pain (31%) and fatigue (10%) have been reported.[Ref]

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal side effects including back pain (17%) have been reported.[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Physicians should carefully consider whether the risks of abarelix outweigh the benefits in patients with baseline QTc values >450 msec and in patients taking class IA or class III antiarrhythmic medications.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects including peripheral edema (15%) and prolongation of the QT interval have been reported.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects including constipation (15%), diarrhea (11%), and nausea (10%) have been reported.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects including dizziness (12%) and headache (12%) have been reported.[Ref]

Respiratory

Respiratory side effects including upper respiratory tract infection (12%) have been reported.[Ref]

Genitourinary

Genitourinary side effects including dysuria (10%), micturition frequency (10%), urinary retention (10%), and urinary tract infection (10%) have been reported.[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity side effects including immediate-onset allergic reactions (3.7%), sometimes resulting in hypotension and syncope, have been reported to have occurred after administration of abarelix.[Ref]

The allergic reaction included urticaria, pruritus, hypotension, and syncope.

Immediate-onset reactions have been reported to have occurred following any administration of abarelix, including the initial dose. The cumulative risk for such a reaction increases with the duration of treatment.

Following each injection of abarelix, patients should be observed for at least 30 minutes in the office. If an allergic reaction associated with hypotension and/or syncope does occur, supportive measures such as leg elevation, oxygen, IV fluids, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and epinephrine should be administered as needed.[Ref]

Hepatic

Hepatic side effects including clinically meaningful increases in serum transaminases have been reported in a small percentage of patients.[Ref]

Hematologic

Hematologic side effects including slight decreases in hemoglobin and mean increases in serum triglycerides of approximately 10% have been reported.[Ref]

References

1. "Product Information. Plenaxis (abarelix)." Praecis Pharmaceuticals Inc, Waltham, MA.

More about abarelix

  • Side Effects
  • During Pregnancy
  • Dosage Information
  • Drug Interactions
  • Support Group
  • 0 Reviews - Add your own review/rating

Consumer resources

  • Abarelix
  • Abarelix Intramuscular, Injection (Advanced Reading)
  • Other brands: Plenaxis

Professional resources

  • Abarelix (AHFS Monograph)

Related treatment guides

  • Prostate Cancer

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.