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Public Citizen Issues Recommendation for Avodart, Proscar

Oct 12, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

A leading consumer group is recommending that men with enlarged prostate consider alternatives to the drugs Avodart (dutasteride)  and Proscar (finasteride).   In its latest issue of "Worst Pills, Best Pills", Public Citizen maintains that medications from the alpha-blocker family are safer treatments for this condition.

Avodart and Proscar are both 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or 5-ARIs.  Other drugs in  this class include an  enlarged prostate treatment called Jalyn (dutasteride and tamsulosin), and  Propecia, a version of finasteride used to treat male baldness.

In June, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced a  labeling change for this class of drugs after studies showed that while 5-ARIs reduced the overall risk of prostate cancer, they increased the risk that a user would develop a more serious type of tumor known as high-grade prostate cancer. The new information was added to the "Warning and Precautions" section of the label for all 5-ARIs sold in the U.S.  

Other possible 5-ARI side effects include erectile dysfunction and male breast cancer.

In recommending "Do Not Use" for Avodart and Proscar, Public Citizen cited the drugs’ links to high-grade prostate cancer and male breast cancer.  The "Worst Pills, Best Pills" article also points to studies that indicated alpha blockers worked just as well to treat enlarged prostate. 

Some alpha blockers patients might want to consider are:

  • alfuzosin (UROXATRAL)
  • prazosin (MINIPRESS)
  • tamsulosin (FLOMAX)
  • doxazosin (CARDURA)
  • terazosin (HYTRIN) 

Surgical procedures are also an option for men with severe symptomatic enlarged prostate, Public Citizen said.


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