Aminoglutethimide Side Effects Guide

Page content

Aminoglutethimide acts on the adrenal cortex and affects steroid production. It is prescribed to treat certain tumors affecting the adrenal cortex. Also prescribed as Cytadren, it is also prescribed to help treat a benign overactive adrenal cortex. In less common cases, this medication is sometimes used in the treatment of prostate cancer and breast cancer. This medication is also prescribed to treat Cushing’s syndrome. Patients need to know about the possible aminoglutethimide side effects and precautions prior to taking this medication to ensure they remain safe throughout their time using this drug.

How is this Medication Used?

This medication is most often taken every six hours, or four times a day. Patients can take it with food or without, and this medication is taken orally. In most cases, this medication will first be administered in a hospital and the dose will be adjusted to determine which dose is best for the patient.

Side Effects

There are a few common aminoglutethimide side effects that all patients should be aware of. These include dizziness, vomiting, nausea, drowsiness, loss of appetite, and headache. A rash is common with this medication, but in most cases, it goes away. However, because this rash cannot be distinguished from a rash that could indicate a serious reaction, any rash requires immediate medication attention.

Other serious side effects include cold intolerance, persistent sore throat, constipation, fever, fainting, chills, fast/slow heartbeat, weakness, tiredness, weight gain, unwanted, body or facial hair, and bleeding or bruising easily.


Patients with allergies, specifically to glutethimide, may not be able to take this medication. Other medical conditions that are contraindicated include:

  • Current infection (especially any infection that is viral, such as herpes or chicken pox)
  • Liver disease
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Kidney disease
  • Low blood pressure

Drug Interactions

Some drugs will interact with this medication. These include:

  • Cough and cold medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Medroxyprogesterone
  • Diuretics
  • Dexamethasone
  • Theophylline
  • Certain antihistamines
  • Anxiety medications
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Psychiatric medications
  • Antiseizure drugs
  • Sleep medications
  • Narcotic pain relievers

Other drugs and medications may also interact and the patient’s doctor will give them such information. Keep in mind that “natural” medications can also interact.

Warnings and Precautions

Alcoholic beverages should be limited when taking this medication. If a patient is pregnant or breastfeeding, they should avoid this drug. If a patient is planning medical or dental surgery, they must tell their surgeon they take this medication.

This drug could keep the body from creating enough natural steroids. Because of this patients may have to begin taking an additional corticosteroid. If a patient experiences sudden weight loss, unusual weaknesses, and dizziness, they must tell their doctor immediately.


RxList. (2010). Cytadren. Retrieved on September 8, 2010 from RxList: (2009). Aminoglutethimide. Retrieved on September 8, 2010 from