Millions of men suffer from enlarged prostates. Many are taking drugs to ease their symptoms, and stave off cancer too. But instead of preventing the disease, the drugs are actually putting them more at risk.
The US Food and Drug Administration recently conducted two studies. It found that some enlarged prostate drugs can protect you from low forms of prostate cancer. But the drugs can also cause a high-grade prostate cancer that spreads rapidly to other organs. The cancer cells are large and difficult to treat.
So if you’re taking one of these drugs, you may have been deceived. You could just be trading one prostate problem for another… a much deadlier one.
So what are the drugs that are so deadly? Proscar, Propecia, and Avodart. They are 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs). They contain a synthetic compound. It blocks the DHT hormone that causes the prostate to become enlarged. In Proscar and Propecia, the compound is finasteride. In Avodart, it’s dutasteride.
These drugs have been marketed for many years as a cure for benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). That’s a condition where the prostate grows and obstructs the bladder, causing many problems. It affects men as they age. The drugs are also used as a treatment for male-pattern hair loss.
The FDA revised drug labels to warn that the drugs are dangerous. But the agency claims benefits outweigh the risks. “This risk appears to be low, but healthcare professionals should be aware of this safety information, and weigh the known benefits against the potential risks when deciding to start or continue treatment with 5-ARIs in men,” the agency stated.
But it’s too little too late. More than 5 million men have already taken the drugs. And the question is: How many will lose their lives because of it?
The Deadly Cure
Finasteride is made by Merck, Dutasteride by GlaxoSmithKline. They were approved by the FDA in 1992 and 2001, respectively.
The drugs are used mainly for enlarged prostates and baldness. But researchers believed the drugs could help prevent cancer, too.
So the FDA included them in its Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. Two randomized studies were done on about 27,000 men.
In one study, the men took 5 mgs of finasteride daily for seven years. Those at high risk for prostate cancer were excluded. In the other study, they took dutasteride for four years. In both studies, a control group took a placebo. Men in this study were considered to have an increased risk for the disease.
The results: In both studies, as compared to the control group, fewer men developed prostate cancer. Their risk dropped by 26% with finasteride and 23% with dutasteride.
But those who did develop cancer while taking the drugs were more likely to have an aggressive form of prostate cancer. The FDA says their risk of developing a high-grade cancer “appears to be very low.” Even so, the FDA issued the lukewarm warning.
Dr. David Samadi is Vice Chairman of the Department of Urology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. He’s also Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery. He’s an expert in prostate cancer treatment. Commenting on these results, he said:
“Interestingly, both trials did show a decrease in the overall development of prostate cancer when using these medications. However, when even a slight increase is shown in the development of deadly forms of prostate cancer, it’s imperative that we investigate the use of these drugs for the treatment of BPH.”
This is just another case of the FDA not acting forcefully to protect the public. It has pulled dozens of drugs off the market in recent years. The side effects of those drugs were discovered only after they had been used by tens of thousands. And for many, it was too late…
Remember Vioxx? In 2004, the pain medication was withdrawn from the market. Dr. David Graham is the former Associate Director for Science and Medicine for the FDA. He was the whistleblower in that case. In his testimony, he discussed a report. It showed nearly 28,000 cases of heart attack or cardiac death caused by Vioxx.
Dr. Graham emphasized this estimate was conservative. He believes 88,000 to 139,000 Americans were affected. And he believes 30-40% of them lost their lives.
At the time, the FDA was widely criticized for its negligence and ties to Big Pharma. It was also hammered for its slow response.
And nothing has changed…
Don’t Just Sit There
So if you’re a man taking drugs for an enlarged prostate, you’re probably worried that you might be at risk for a high grade of prostate cancer. If so, make sure to check with your doctor. And if you are at risk, consider stopping the treatment.
To lower your risk of prostate cancer, you can add tomatoes to your diet. They contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. It’s also found in guavas, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. Studies have shown that lycopene not only prevents prostate cancer, it also reduces the size of tumors you may develop.
And if you’re looking for an alternative treatment for your enlarged prostate, consider saw palmetto. It’s an all-natural solution that’s been used by Native Americans in the Southeast for generations. Clinical trials show that it helps maintain a healthy prostate. Studies are still being done. But researchers believe it may control testosterone levels. It’s often combined with nettle extract to treat an enlarged prostate.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Some studies show that saw palmetto is as effective in treating symptoms as finasteride (Proscar) without side effects such as loss of libido. Other studies suggest that saw palmetto may actually shrink the size of the prostate gland.”
There are plenty more safe solutions.
NHD’s independent research team has prepared a comprehensive health directive all about prostate cancer. In it, you’ll discover the big mistake modern medicine is making. You’ll learn the underlying cause of prostate cancer. You’ll hear from doctors who heal their patients naturally. And you’ll come away with 15 natural ways to prevent prostate cancer. To get your copy, click here now.
Stay informed with NHD… On Friday, we bring you one cure that fends off a common cancer in men and a different common cancer in women.
To your best health,
Managing Editor, NHD “Health Watch”