According to a new study, prostate cancer patients who take Zytiga in lower concentrations but after eating a low-fat breakfast experience the same positive effects as those who take the whole recommended dose on an empty stomach. Thereby, prostate cancer patients can drastically cut some costs, especially as Zytiga burns holes in the patients’ pockets and can get pricey even for those with an ironclad health assurance.
“We know this drug is absorbed much more efficiently when taken with food”, says a University of Chicago assistant professor of medicine and study’s author, Dr. Russel Szmulewitz.
Dr. Szmulewitz added that taking the drug in the recommended dose in an empty stomach can prove inefficient and even wasteful. Even so, the researchers strongly recommended patients not to experiment with drug doses on their own.
Even though the new findings look promising, the researchers say that because of the scale of the study -a small one – there is still not enough evidence to suggest taking lower doses is just as effective as taking a full one. If something, Dr. Szmulewitz deemed the preliminary findings far from definitive.
At the moment, Zytiga costs prostate cancer patients more than $9,000 a month. Physicians say the patients usually stay on it for up to 18 months. Moreover, even those who have the best health insurance can co-pay from anywhere starting at $1,000 up to $3,000 a month.
During the trials, 36 patients with advanced prostate cancer took 250 milligrams of the drug with a low-fat breakfast. At the same time, 36 others suffering from the same disease followed the recommendations inscribed on the product’s label and took 1000 milligrams on an empty stomach. At the end of the trials, the team of researchers observed that the effects were mainly the same in both cases.
At the moment, however, the study is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Nevertheless, the findings so far suggest cancer prostate patients could ask their health care providers for lower doses with close monitoring. If such practice yields beneficial results, the patient could save up to $7,500 each month, researchers noted.
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