The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
The type of treatment you will have will depend on the stage of the cancer, the size of the tumor, your age, and overall condition. The main prescription drug therapies used to treat prostate cancer are hormonal therapies.
Prostate cells need male hormones, called androgens, to grow and work properly. The aim of hormonal therapy is to reduce the amount of male hormones in your body so that prostate cells are not stimulated to grow. The most effective hormonal therapy is to undergo surgery to remove the testes (orchiectomy). This is effective surgery, but it is irreversible. Often hormonal therapies are combined to achieve greater effects.
Different types of hormonal therapies include:
Common names include: LeuprolideGoserelin
These medications decrease the production of the male hormone, testosterone, from the testicles. These medications are given by injection into a muscle every few months.
Possible side effects include: Erectile dysfunctionHot flashesLoss of sexual desireOsteoporosisFatigueIncreased risk of heart disease and diabetes
Common names include: FlutamideBicalutamideNilutamide
Anti-androgens prevent your body from using androgens.
Possible side effects include: Nausea and vomitingDiarrheaBreast growth or tenderness—gynecomastiaChange in sexual ability or desire
Ketoconazole blocks the production of androgens. It is considered a second-line hormonal treatment. It may be used when other medications are not working.
Possible side effects include: Nausea and vomitingLiver problemsItchy skin
Common name: abiraterone
Abiraterone works by blocking an enzyme that is needed to make testosterone. The drug affects the ability of the testes and body tissue from making this male hormone.
Possible side effects include: FatigueFluid build-up in the legsJoint and muscle painHigh blood pressureBladder infection
Common name: enzalutamide
This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for men that have late-stage prostate cancer that has not responded to other treatments.
Enzalutamide, a type of anti-antigen, prevents your body from using androgens.
Possible side effects include: WeaknessBack painDiarrheaJoint pain
If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines: Take the medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule. Ask what side effects could occur. Report them to your doctor.Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medication.Plan ahead for refills if you need them.Do not share your prescription medication with anyone.Medications can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor if you are taking more than one medication, including over-the-counter products and supplements.
About hormone therapy for prostate cancer. Cancer Research UK website. Available at:
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/prostate-cancer/treatment/hormone/about-hormone-therapy-for-prostate-cancer. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 15, 2016. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Angiogenesis inhibitors. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/immunotherapy/angiogenesis-inhibitors-fact-sheet. Updated October 7, 2011. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Chemo & targeted therapy. Texas Oncology website. Available at:
http://www.texasoncology.com/types-of-cancer/prostate-cancer/targeted-therapy-for-prostate-cancer. Accessed September 8, 2016.
American Cancer Society
website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003134-pdf.pdf. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Prostate cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/prostate-cancer. Updated November 2013. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Study: new drug enzalutamide extends life in advanced prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/news/study-new-drug-enzalutamide-extends-life-in-advanced-prostate-cancer. Accessed September 8, 2016.
2/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed:: Smith DP, King MT, Egger S, et al. Quality of life three years after diagnosis of localised prostate cancer: population based cohort study.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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