Bicalutamide : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why is this medication prescribed?
Bicalutamide is used with another drug (gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, such as leuprolide or goserelin) to treat metastatic prostate cancer (cancer that started in the prostate and has spread to other parts of the body). Bicalutamide is in a class of medications called nonsteroidal antiandrogens. It works by blocking the effect of androgens (a male hormone) to stop the growth and spread of cancer cells.
How should this medicine be used?
Bicalutamide comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food once a day, either in the morning or in the evening. Take bicalutamide at around the same times every day. You should start taking bicalutamide on the same day that you start injecting your luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Take bicalutamide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Bicalutamide along with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone can help stop the growth and spread of cancer cells, but it does not cure prostate cancer. Keep taking bicalutamide and luteinizing hormone releasing hormone even if you feel better. Do not stop taking these medications without consulting your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking bicalutamide,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to bicalutamide, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in bicalutamide tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: alprazolam (Xanax); anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin); aripiprazole (Abilify); buspirone (Buspar); calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac), felodipine (Plendil), nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), nisoldipine (Sular), and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan); chlorpheniramine; cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor), and simvastatin (Zocor); clarithromycin (Biaxin); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); diazepam (Valium); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); HIV protease inhibitors such as indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir), and saquinavir (Invirase, Fortovase); Methadone (Dolophine); midazolam (Versed); pimozide (Orap); quinidine (Quinidex, Quinaglute); quinine; sildenafil (Viagra); tacrolimus (Prograf); tamoxifen (Nolvadex); telithromycin (Ketek); trazodone (Desyrel); triazolam (Halcion); and vincristine (Vincasar). Many other medications can also interact with bicalutamide, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease.
- You should know that bicalutamide is only used in men. If taken by pregnant women, bicalutamide can cause abnormalities in the fetus. Women who are or may become pregnant should not take bicalutamide. If you take bicalutamide while you are pregnant, call your doctor immediately.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the one you forgot.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Bicalutamide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- hot flashes or flushing
- bone, back, or pelvic pain
- muscle weakness
- muscle or joint pain
- shortness of breath
- increased blood pressure
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- abdominal pain
- change in weight (loss or gain)
- loss of appetite
- pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
- difficulty sleeping
- feeling of uneasiness or dread
- inability to get or keep an erection
- need to urinate frequently during the night
- bloody urine
- painful or difficult urination
- frequent and urgent need to urinate
- difficulty emptying bladder
- painful or swollen breasts
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- extreme tiredness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- lack of energy
- upset stomach
- loss of appetite
- flu-like symptoms
- dull or sharp side pain
- chest pain
Bicalutamide may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, as many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not child-resistant and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure they cannot be consumed by pets, children, and others. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. Check out the FDA drug safe disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain laboratory tests to check your body’s response to bicalutamide.
Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.
Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.