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Mitotane (Lysodren®)

About This Drug

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

Possible Side Effects 

  • Nausea and vomiting (throwing up)
  • Diarrhea (loose bowel movements)
  • Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Depression
  • 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 

  • Take the medicine as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Missed dose: If you vomit or miss a dose, contact your doctor for instructions. 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.
  • Disposal of unused medicine: Do not flush any expired and/or unused medicine down the toilet or drain unless you are specifically instructed to do so on the medication label. Some facilities have take-back programs and/or other options. If you do not have a take-back program in your area, then please 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 foods high in calories and protein, such as meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, tofu, eggs, nuts, milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, pudding, and nutritional supplements.
  • Consider using sauces and spices to increase taste. Daily exercise, with your doctor’s approval, may increase your appetite.
  • 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 of water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • If you have 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 stop or 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
  • Tiredness 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
  • Diarrhea, 4 times in one day or diarrhea 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 childbearing 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 breastfeed 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 breastfeeding 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 June 2019

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2019. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have.

CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.