Mitotane (Lysodren®)

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About This Drug

Mitotane is used to treat cancer. It is given orally (by mouth).

Possible Side Effects

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Depression
  • Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • Rash

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 15% or greater of patients treated with mitotane. Not all possible side effects are included above.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Effects on the adrenal glands. Some hormones may not be produced. Your doctor may prescribe replacement steroids.
  • Changes in your central nervous system can happen. The central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord. You could feel extreme tiredness, sleepiness and dizziness.
  • Premenopausal females are at risk of developing ovarian cysts.

Important Information

  • Talk to your doctor before any minor/major surgical procedures. Also, if you must have emergency surgery, tell the doctor that you are on mitotane.

How to Take Your Medication

  • Swallow the medicine whole with or without food.
  • Missed dose: If you vomit or miss a dose, take your next dose at the regular time, and contact your physician.  Do not take 2 doses at the same time and do not double up on the next dose.
  • Handling: Wash your hands after handling your medicine, your caretakers should not handle your medicine with bare hands and should wear latex gloves.
  • This drug may be present in the saliva, tears, sweat, urine, stool, vomit, semen, and vaginal secretions. Talk to your doctor and/or your nurse about the necessary precautions to take during this time.
  • Storage: Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature. Discuss with your nurse or your doctor how to dispose of unused medicine.

Treating Side Effects

  • If you are dizzy, get up slowly after sitting or lying.
  • To help with decreased appetite, eat high caloric food such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt and milkshakes.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • If you get diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping.
  • Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea.
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help or stop lessen these symptoms.
  • If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
  • If you are feeling depressed, talk to your nurse or doctor about it.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of mitotane with food.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist about all other prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) you are taking before starting this medicine as there are known drug interactions with mitotane. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions.
  • There are known interactions of mitotane with blood thinning medicine such as warfarin. Ask your doctor what precautions you should take.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
  • Pain in your lower abdomen (pelvis)
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • A new rash or a rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Lose interest in your daily activities that you used to enjoy and feeling this way every day, and/or you feel hopelessness.
  • If you think you may be pregnant

Reproduction Warnings

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug can have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Women of child bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for as long as medication level is detectable in your blood. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant
  • Breastfeeding warning: Women should not breast feed during treatment and for as long as medication level is detectable in your blood because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breast feeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.

Revised February 2018

This information is intended to provide helpful health information to the general public and is not to be used in place of any medical, health, psychological, or any other kind of personal professional services. The information herein does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the medicines mentioned, nor is the information intended as medical advice for individual problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of taking a particular medication. The dose, method of administration and contraindications for any administered medication should be confirmed before use. UPMC specifically disclaims all responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any medication mentioned herein.