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Health Canada Orders Prostate Cancer Warnings for Dutasteride, Finasteride

Filed March 22nd, 2012 Laurie

Health Canada is warning the public that certain drugs used to treat an enlarged prostate or male-pattern baldness may increase a man’s changes of developing a serious form of prostate cancer. The drug finastride, otherwise known as Propecia and Proscar, is prescribed to treat both conditions.

The drug dutastride, known as under the brand names Avodart and Jalyn, is also used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, or an enlarged prostate. According to Health Canada, both finastride and dutastride may be linked to a higher risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer, but the agency still says the risk is considered low.

The risk was found in five-milligram doses of finastride (Proscar). The one-milligram doses of the Propecia was not a part of the trials, though the potential for a health risk has not been ruled out.

The trials attempted to determine if finastride and dutastride could be used as a treatment for prostate cancer. Both studies found the possible benefit of preventing low-grade prostate cancer was small compared to the risk of developing the high-grade form of the disease. Neither medication is approved to treat prostate cancer in Canada.

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