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Mitotane tablets

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Mitotane


Tablets containing mitotane

Drugs List

  • LYSODREN 500mg tablets
  • mitotane 500mg tablets
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Advanced adrenal cortical carcinoma: symptomatic treatment

    Symptomatic treatment of advanced (unresectable, metastatic or relapsed) adrenal cortical carcinoma.


    Before mitotane is administered, all possible tumour tissues should be surgically removed from large metastatic masses.

    Whilst the doses stated below are those recommended by the manufacturer, local cancer network protocols for the relevant indication should be consulted.


    Treatment should be initiated with 2 to 3 g of mitotane per day in 2 to 3 divided doses and increased progressively (e.g. at two week intervals) until plasma level reaches 14 to 20 mg/l. Starting doses may be as high as 4 to 6 g per day where it is necessary to control Cushing's symptoms urgently, and daily doses increased more rapidly (e.g. every week).
    Doses exceeding 6 g per day are not generally recommended.


    Treatment should be initiated at 1.5 to 3.5 g/square metre/day in 2 to 3 divided doses, with the objective of reaching 4 g/square metre/day. Reduce after 2 or 3 months according to plasma mitotane levels.


    For oral administration with water, preferably taken during meals. The manufacturer advises taking mitotane with fatty foods to enhance mitotane absorption.

    Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

    Monitoring plasma levels of mitotane should be done frequently (every 2 weeks) until optimal maintenance dose is reached. Monitoring should be done more frequently ( e.g. every week) when a high starting dose has been used. Thereafter, monthly assays should be taken due to tissue accumulation. Plasma levels above 20 mg/litre have been associated with neurotoxicity and so plasma levels should be maintained below this threshold. Weaker evidence suggests that plasma levels above 14 mg/litre may result in enhanced efficacy.

    Note that dose readjustments do not produce immediate changes in the plasma level of mitotane as it has a long half-life.

    Regular monitoring ( e.g. every two months) of mitotane plasma levels is also necessary after interruption of treatment. Treatment can be resumed when mitotane plasma levels are between 14 to 20 mg/litre.


    Severe hepatic impairment
    Severe renal impairment

    Precautions and Warnings

    Patients over 65 years
    Prolonged bleeding times
    Hepatic impairment
    Renal impairment

    Corticosteroid cover required in adrenal insufficiency
    Advise ability to drive/operate machinery may be affected by side effects
    Drug interactions may occur months after treatment has stopped
    Excise large metastases to reduce risk of haemorrhage/infarct prior to tx
    Treatment to be initiated and supervised by a specialist
    Consult local policy on the safe use of oral anti-cancer drugs
    Staff: Not to be handled by pregnant staff
    Take with food - particularly high fat food
    Examine patients complaining of abdominal/pelvic pain for ovarian cysts
    Monitor full blood count regularly
    Monitor hepatic function regularly
    Monitor plasma concentrations of this drug
    Monitor thyroid function in children with neuro-psychological reactions
    Periodic neurological examination
    Advise patients to report gynaecological bleeding and/or pelvic pain
    May affect results of some laboratory tests
    Discontinue if an adequate response not achieved within 3 months
    Discontinue if neurological toxicity occurs
    Discontinue immediately following shock, trauma or infection
    Advise patient not to take St John's wort concurrently
    Female: Ensure adequate contraception during treatment
    Advise patient to carry package insert at all times

    Long term administration of high doses may lead to reversible brain damage. Make neurological and behavioural assessments at regular intervals.

    Caution should be taken when treating overweight patients as accumulation in fatty tissues can lead to prolonged release. The possibility of persisting side effects, interactions and the need for contraception requires consideration. Mitotane plasma levels may increase despite constant dosage and close monitoring of plasma levels is advised in overweight patients (see Therapeutic drug monitoring )

    All blood cells may be affected with mitotane treatment. Red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet counts should be monitored during mitotane treatment. Mitotane can prolong bleeding times and this should be taken into account when surgery is to be performed.

    Some sources indicate mitotane as unsuitable for use in porphyria as it probably porphyrinogenic.

    Neuro-psychological reactions have been observed in children during mitotane treatment. In such cases, investigate thyroid function to determine if thyroid function is impaired.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Mitotane is contraindicated during pregnancy.

    Data on a limited number of exposed pregnancies indicate adverse reactions of mitotane on the health of the foetus including adrenal abnormalities. Although animal studies on mitotane have not been carried out, Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and other polychlorinated biphenyls show fertility, pregnancy and developmental effects, and due to its similarity in structure, mitotane may share these effects.

    Women of childbearing potential must use effective contraception during treatment and after discontinuation of treatment for as long as mitotane plasma levels are detectable.

    The prolonged elimination of mitotane from the body after discontinuation should be considered.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Mitotane is contraindicated during breastfeeding.

    Due to its being particularly lipophilic, mitotane is likely to be excreted in the breast milk. At the time of writing, there are no reports on the use of mitotane during breastfeeding.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Abnormal vaginal bleeding
    Adrenal suppression
    Androstenedione decreased
    Autoimmune hepatitis
    Blurred vision
    Cholestatic hepatitis
    Decrease in plasma testosterone (transient)
    Elevation of liver enzymes
    Epigastric discomfort
    Growth retardation (children)
    Haemorrhagic cystitis
    Hepatic damage
    Impairment of mental skills
    Lens opacities
    Loss of balance
    Macular retinopathy
    Movement disturbances
    Opportunistic mycoses
    Ovarian macrocysts
    Pelvic pain
    Postural hypotension
    Prolonged bleeding
    Retinal toxicity
    Salivation changes
    Serum uric acid disturbances
    Sex hormone binding globulin increased
    Visual disturbances

    Effects on Laboratory Tests

    Mitotane may interfere with the results of hormonal assays as it has been known to increase plasma hormone binding proteins.


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: June 2016

    Reference Sources

    British National Formulary, 64th Edition (2012) Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    BNF for Children (2012-2013) Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    Joint Formulary Committee. British National Formulary(online) London: BMJ Group and Pharmaceutical Press Accessed on 17 June 2016.

    Paediatric Formulary Committee. BNF for Children (online) London: BMJ Group, Pharmaceutical Press, and RCPCH Publications Accessed on 17 June 2016.

    Summary of Product Characteristics, Lysodren 500mg tablets. Laboratoire HRA Pharma. Revised April 2016.

    The Norwegian Porphyria Centre (NAPOS).
    Available at:
    Last revised: 07 February 2011
    Last accessed: 17 June 2016

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