Prostate Cancer Risk from Avodart, Proscar Lead to Warning Against Use

The prominent consumer watchdog group Public Citizen is warning men not to use Avodart, Proscar or similar drugs for the treatment of enlarged prostate, due to the potential increased risk of prostate cancer. 

In the October issue of Public Citizen’s Worst Pills, Best Pills newsletter, which provides information for consumers about medications that may pose an unreasonable risk, the group indicated that the cancer risk associated with side effects of Proscar and Avodart outweigh the possible benefit for treatment of enlarged prostate, which can cause urinary problems in older men.

Avodart and Proscar belong to a class of drugs known as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARI).

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The hair loss prevention drug Propecia, a low-dose version of Proscar, also belongs to this family but is not approved for the treatment of enlarged prostate.

In June 2010, the FDA warned that all 5-ARI drugs had to carry label warnings alerting patients to the risk of high-grade prostate cancer.

Public Citizen has placed the entire class of the drugs on its “Do Not Use” list, recommending the use of alpha-blockers like Flomax instead, which some studies have shown to be more effective in reducing the size of the prostate and relieving related urinary problems, but without increased risk of prostate cancer.

Avodart (dutasteride) was approved by FDA for the treatment of urinary problems in October 2002. The GlaxoSmithKline drug works by reducing the size of an enlarged prostate, by reducing the enzymes that turn testosterone into DHT, which is the primary cause of prostate growth.

Proscar (finasteride) was approved in 1992 for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. The lower-dose version sold as Propecia is approved for treatment of male pattern baldness.

In March, a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that found Propecia side effects were linked to sexual problems in men. Researchers indicated that the class of drugs known as 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors can cause loss of libido, depression erectile dysfunction, reduced semen production and growth of male breast tissue. They also agreed that in some cases these Proscar and Propecia sexual side effects appeared to be permanent.

A number of men throughout the United States who have experienced sexual dysfunction after taking the hair-loss drug are pursuing a Propecia lawsuit, alleging that the drug’s maker provided inadequate warnings based on the available information.

7 Comments

  • ClarenceAugust 20, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    My Dad has been adovart up until 2027... he has prostrate cancer as of 2014...

  • EmmaOctober 23, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    My husband has been on Proscar since 1995 until 2002 when his doctor changed him to Avodart. He has taken Avodart & Flomax since 2002 to current time now, Oct, 2015. His PSA went from 35 to 80 right now. He has heart problems also and has some passing out spells. His prostate is HUGE, as his doctor says. This very expensive Avodart has not shrunk his prostate at all. My husband is suffering and hi[Show More]My husband has been on Proscar since 1995 until 2002 when his doctor changed him to Avodart. He has taken Avodart & Flomax since 2002 to current time now, Oct, 2015. His PSA went from 35 to 80 right now. He has heart problems also and has some passing out spells. His prostate is HUGE, as his doctor says. This very expensive Avodart has not shrunk his prostate at all. My husband is suffering and his doctor continue to prescribe it for him. I'm so afraid for him. He's 72 yrs old and suffering, having to Cat himself just to urinate.

  • PaulDecember 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Taking Selenium will do the same thing as Flomax. It reduces the prostate and is only about $3.00 for 90 capsules at Swanson Vit.

  • allyFebruary 9, 2013 at 8:54 am

    the drug Combodart ruined my husbands life and ended his career. He was a professiona driver and passed out whilst driving. God was watching over him and passengers not one died when he passed out (rare side effect of this medication).

  • SueJuly 23, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Do not take Avodart. My husband has been diagnosed with end-stage, terminal metastatic prostate cancer while taking it. He had two biopsies and had a rising PSA. The drug prevents the doctor from finding the cancer in the prostate gland biopsy, because it shrinks the prostate. He was told to come back in six months. He insisted on another, third biopsy and the doctor found only one/tenth of one of[Show More]Do not take Avodart. My husband has been diagnosed with end-stage, terminal metastatic prostate cancer while taking it. He had two biopsies and had a rising PSA. The drug prevents the doctor from finding the cancer in the prostate gland biopsy, because it shrinks the prostate. He was told to come back in six months. He insisted on another, third biopsy and the doctor found only one/tenth of one of ten samples had cancer, but it has metastacized to his abdomen and chest. DO NOT TAKE AVODART Your doctor may still prescribe this. My husband was the healthiest person anyone ever knew. We now fight for his life. DO NOT TAKE AVODART MY HUSBAND DEVELOPED ANGINA WHILE ON AVODART AND WENT TO THE HOSPITAL AND STILL WAS NOT TOLD My husband never missed a day of work in 35 years he was so healthy.

  • chesterApril 17, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I used flomax and avodart from 2006 -2009 and I ended up with blabber cance my dr. said it was these meds that caused it

  • JohnOctober 15, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I have all the bad symptoms of problems related to use of Avoodart. Of course, the worst and most frightening is fast growth prostate cancer. I am part of a class action lawsuit against GSK. A month after the problems of Avodart were revealed by FDA, I had to inform my general practictioner and Urologist of this information. I was told to continue taking the medication since I already had prostate[Show More]I have all the bad symptoms of problems related to use of Avoodart. Of course, the worst and most frightening is fast growth prostate cancer. I am part of a class action lawsuit against GSK. A month after the problems of Avodart were revealed by FDA, I had to inform my general practictioner and Urologist of this information. I was told to continue taking the medication since I already had prostate cancer. This with no warning about problems apparently involving Avodart and heart disease. I suspect that if I had not been curious and read articles on internet about such problems, I would have never been made aware of the situation. So guys, tell your buddies, sons, brothers etc about this problem so they will not be victims. I probably will never receive any form of compensation for this, but no amount of money would make it better. Beware of this and all medications. Read the brochures. Ask questions. And get on the internet for imformation about all medications. Good luck.

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