What Is Nilutamide (Nilandron)?

Overview

Nilandron (nilutamide) is an androgen receptor inhibitor, also called an antiandrogen or a nonsteroidal antiandrogen (NSAA), used in combination with surgical castration (removal of the testicles) or LHRH (or GnRH) agonists. It is indicated for use in individuals with metastatic prostate cancer (prostate cancer that has spread to another part of the body). Nilandron is an orally administered medication that comes in tablet form. Individuals taking Nilandron should also be monitored for changes in liver functioning as well as for signs of interstitial pneumonitis (also known as interstitial lung disease).

What are the ingredients in Nilandron?

The active ingredient in Nilandron is nilutamide, the nonsteroidal antiandrogen.

How does Nilandron work?

Nilandron’s active ingredient binds to the androgen receptors in the body. Nilandron blocks testosterone and other androgens from activating these receptors. Prostate cancer tumors are often fueled to grow by androgens, including testosterone. Turning off the body’s ability to respond to testosterone can potentially halt tumor growth. In addition, Nilandron can be used during early stages of other hormone therapies, such as treatment with Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) agonists, in order to block the initial surge of testosterone, called tumor flare, that can come along with these medications. The surge of testosterone at the beginning of some of these treatment methods can contribute to rapid tumor growth before it is halted, potentially leading to life-threatening issues such as spinal cord compression.

What are the possible side effects of Nilandron?

Multiple clinical trials evaluated the safety and efficacy of Nilandron. The most common side effects of Nilandron include hot flashes, delayed vision adjustment to darkness, breast pain or enlargement, decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, pain, swelling, loss of appetite, constipation, headache, and difficulty sleeping. This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Nilandron. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist for further information.

Things to note about Nilandron

Several rare but more serious side effects can accompany Nilandron including problems with your liver. Individuals should be closely monitored for signs of these serious side effects, and blood tests to assess liver function should be performed regularly. Alert your provider immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Flu-like symptoms like soreness or muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Brown urine
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes (jaundice)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to urinate

Additionally, although rare, there is a chance of developing interstitial pneumonitis, also called interstitial lung disease, while on Nilandron. You provider will monitor you for signs of interstitial pneumonitis, however, you should alert them immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Fever

Before staring Nilandron talk to your provider if you:

  • Have any liver, heart, kidney, or lung problems
  • Are taking any blood thinners
  • Have a partner who is pregnant or could become pregnant
  • Have any other medical conditions
  • Are currently taking any other medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements

You should also contact your provider if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction to the medication, including chest pain or difficulty breathing. Since drowsiness, blurred vision, or dizziness may occur, individuals on Nilandron should refrain from operating heavy machinery, or driving unless specifically instructed otherwise. Individuals on Nilandron should also avoid excessive sunlight and wear sunscreen if outside as photosensitivity (increased sensitivity to the sun) may occur. It is also important to drink substantial amounts of water while taking Nilandron. Alcohol should be avoided while taking Nilandron, because the combination may cause a bad reaction. It is also important to consult the prescribing information for any other medications taken with Nilandron, including LHRH agonists.

Dosing information

Nilandron is administered orally and is commonly taken with a LHRH (or GnRH) agonist or immediately after castration surgery. Typically, Nilandron is taken once daily, and comes in a 150 mg tablet. Your provider will determine the appropriate dosage and administration schedule for you, as well as the appropriate dosage and administration of any other medications taken with Nilandron. A typical dosage and schedule for Nilandron is 300 mg once a day for the first 30 days, and then 150 mg once a day thereafter. It is important to follow this schedule exactly as instructed, and not to stop taking Nilandron or any accompanying medications on your own. If you miss a dose of Nilandron, take your next dose at the regularly scheduled time, and do not try to make up for missed dosages. Nilandron can be taken with or without food. If you take too much Nilandron, seek emergency medical attention immediately.1

Written by: Casey Hribar | Last reviewed: October 2017
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