Treatment of Adrenal Cancer and Cushing’s Syndrome with Lysodren

Lysodren (generic name: mitotane) is a prescription medication used to treat cancer of the adrenal glands, known as adrenal cortex (adrenocortical) carcinoma.  It is also prescribed to treat Cushing’s Syndrome. 

Adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare tumor type, occurring in 1 or 2 people per million population annually. Lysodren is marketed as an orphan drug because of the small numbers of patients who require it. It is typically used in patients who have persistent disease despite surgery, those who are not surgical candidates or those with metastatic disease.

How does Lysodren work?

The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. Their outer cortex produces a variety of hormones including the steroids aldosterone and cortisol, as well as androgens. 

Prescription Lysodren works by decreasing the amount of hormones produced by the adrenal glands, as well as altering the peripheral metabolism of steroids. Because of that, steroid replacement therapy is usually prescribed when you take Lysodren.

How do I take Lysodren?

Your dosage of Lysodren will be determined by your doctor.  It is taken with or without food, usually up to three times per day depending on your doctor’s prescription.  If you have questions about how to take your prescription Lysodren, speak to your pharmacist who will be happy to explain the directions on your prescription.

The active ingredient in prescription Lysodren is mitotane and it is available as 500 mg tablets.

Do not increase or decrease your dosage of prescription Lysodren without your doctor’s instructions.  Your doctor may order blood levels of mitotane (Lysodren) to be measured in order to ensure the dose is right for you.

What are the side effects of Lysodren?

Common side effects may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Tiredness or sleepiness

Signs of allergic reaction may include:

  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat or face
  • Hives
  • Breathing problems

Lysodren therapy requires careful monitoring by your doctor, including regular bloodwork appointments, in order to ensure the dosage is appropriate.

Was this article helpful? Other articles you may find helpful include:

What is the difference between a generic drug and a brand-name drug?

How to dispose of prescription medications.

Ten important questions to ask your pharmacist.

6 common food and prescription medication combinations to avoid.

If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).

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