If you have prostate cancer that has become worse or spread to other areas, your healthcare provider may prescribe Emcyt. This medication is approved specifically for palliative treatment, which means it relieves symptoms rather than curing the disease. It comes as a capsule that is taken three to four times daily. Side effects can include nausea, diarrhea, and breast tenderness.
What Is Emcyt?
Emcyt® (estramustine phosphate) is a prescription chemotherapy medication approved for the treatment of prostate cancer. It is used for palliative treatment when the prostate cancer has become worse or spread to other areas (metastasized). Palliative treatment is directed toward relieving symptoms rather than providing a cure.
Emcyt is made by Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, a division of Pfizer, Inc.
How Does Emcyt Work?
Technically, Emcyt belongs to a group of drugs known as alkylating agents. However, it works differently than other alkylating agents.
Emcyt is made up of a combination of estradiol (a form of estrogen) that has been chemically linked to nornitrogen mustard, a chemotherapy medicine. It works in two ways to stop the growth of cancer cells.
The chemotherapy portion works like an antimicrotubule agent. Antimicrotubule agents interfere with the action of microtubules, structures in cells that help move chromosomes during cell division. By preventing microtubules from moving chromosomes, Emcyt helps stop cancer cells from dividing.
When Emcyt is broken down in the body, estradiol is released. Estradiol is a hormone therapy that stops the body from producing male hormones (androgens), such as testosterone. Because prostate cancer cells need male hormones to grow, hormone therapy such as estradiol can slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Emcyt [package insert]. New York, NY: Pharmacia & Upjohn Company;2007 June.
Estramustine phosphate. Drug Facts and Comparisons. Drug Facts and Comparisons 4.0 [online]. 2012. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed August 20, 2012.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed August 20, 2012.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
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