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High-Grade Prostate Cancer Risk Increases in Heavy Drinkers Who Take Dutasteride

March 24th, 2015

A new 4-year study, published in the journal European Urology, found that men who take dutasteride (part of a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors) and drink heavily (more than seven alcoholic drinks per week) have a greater risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer than men who take dutasteride and do not drink.[1]

The authors of the study concluded that heavy alcohol intake negates dutasteride’s protective benefit against high-grade prostate cancer. This result confirmed a prior study[2] which showed that high alcohol intake negatively affected prostate cancer prevention in patients taking finasteride, another 5-alpha reductase inhibitor.

The researchers recommend that patients taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors may wish to eliminate alcohol intake if they are concerned about prostate cancer.

The reason why this paper is important for our readership is that dutasteride (Avodart) is used, by some doctors, to treat hair loss. Although effective in genetic baldness, its use for male pattern alopecia is not approved by the FDA and its long-term safety is not clear.

References:
  1. Fowke J.H., Howard L., Andriole G.L., Freedland S.J. Alcohol Intake Increases High-grade Prostate Cancer Risk Among Men Taking Dutasteride in the REDUCE Trial. European Urology, 2014, Dec;66(6):1133-8. []
  2. Gong Z., Kristal A.R., Schenk J.M., Tangen C.M., Goodman P.J., Thompson I.M. Alcohol consumption, finasteride, and prostate cancer risk: results from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. Cancer, 2009, Aug 15;115(16):3661-9 []

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on Updated 2016-02-15