Tag Archive | "dutasteride"

Dutasteride and Finasteride May Contribute to Irreversible Sexual Dysfunction in Men

Dutasteride (Avodart), a drug frequently prescribed to treat enlarged prostate and Finasteride (Proscar and Propecia); a drug frequently prescribed to treat hair loss may contribute to erectile dysfunction, depression and loss of libido. Symptoms may even persist after the medication stopped.

This is according to a study led by Abdulmaged M. Traish, a professor of biochemistry and urology at Boston University School of Medicine. The team searched for available medical literature for reports of sexual side effects associated with Finasteride and Dutasteride. Of the men taking the drugs, 8% reported erectile dysfunction and 4.2% reported reduced libido while those taking the placebo only 4% of men reported erectile dysfunction and 1.8% of men reported reduced libido. The researchers also noted that reduced ejaculation, reduced semen volume and depression were also reported by some men.

The drugs (Dutasteride and Finasteride) work by blocking androgen but androgen is needed for erectile function, libido and ejaculation, and for just feeling good.

Traish said “as a physician you have a responsibility to take the time and explain to your patient that maybe not everyone will have these side effects, but you may, and in some cases they are irreversible””.

Dr. Bruce R. Kava, an associate professor of urology at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine agreed that “these drugs do cause some of these problems but they haven’t convinced me yet, based on the data, because they don’t have any long term data”. He added that most urologists discuss potential side effects with their patients but usually “don’t discuss long term consequences that are irreversible, because most of us have not been aware of any long term problems from these drugs”.

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Experts Disagree on Prostate Cancer Prevention Drugs

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men. However, there is good news.  Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) produces a medicine called Avodart, generically known as dutasteride, which can reduce your risk of developing the disease. An international, four-year, placebo-controlled and randomized study conducted by GSK revealed that dutasteride cut the risk of prostate cancer by 23% — a fantastic result. However, despite these findings, many medical professionals advise against prescribing this drug. In an editorial by published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Patrick Walsh raises several issues regarding the study and its conclusions.

Walsh questions whether the dutasteride-prevented cancers were clinically significant. While the drug did lead to a significant reduction in low-grade prostate cancer incidence, the more lethal, higher-grade cancers were mostly not affected. Also disconcerting was an increase in heart failure discovered among patients taking dutasteride.

Finally, Walsh questions the study’s conclusions. He believes the drug doesn’t prevent cancer, but only temporarily shrinks tumors that have a low potential for being lethal. While the drugs do successfully treat prostate conditions by reducing prostate-specific antigen levels and shrinking the gland, he worries that the drug lead to worse problems later on by lulling men into a false sense of security.

However, the study’s lead author Dr. Gerald Andriole, chief of urological surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, disagrees. “The major problems with screening for prostate cancer using PSA . . . is what has been referred to “overdiagnosis” and “overtreatment,” he notes. As well as preventing BPH-related problems, “both finasteride and dutasteride actually improve the ability of PSA [tests] to detect the most aggressive cancers,” a desirable outcome of the study that will be reported in a later paper, and one that could reduce the chance of overdiagnosis. Instead, he recommends that PSA tests be used differently for men on the drugs, adjusting for the expected lower levels shown in patients taking dutasteride and finasteride.

Men worried about prostate cancer will likely rejoice to hear that they might be able to reduce their risk. However, the experts still disagree on the drug’s effectiveness, or even safety. As always, the best plan of action is to discuss treatment options with your doctor or medical health professional.

Posted in Chronic Prostatitis, Prostate TreatmentComments (2)


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