Drug Eases Hormone Therapy Side Effect in Men
Study Shows Medroxyprogesterone Treats Hot Flashes From Treatment of Prostate Cancer
Dec. 7, 2009 -- Treating hot flashes in men undergoing
prostate cancer treatment can be tricky, but a new study suggests medroxyprogesterone
could be the new gold standard in hot-flash treatment for men.
Hormone therapy, or androgen deprivation therapy, which lowers the level of
the male sex hormone androgen to prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells,
is the most common treatment for advanced prostate cancer. Hot flashes are a
common side effect of this hormonal therapy, experienced by up to 80% of men
prostate cancer treatment.
Although there are several hormonal and non-hormonal treatments to combat
hot flashes in men, researchers say that until now they have not been compared
in men undergoing prostate cancer treatment.
In a study published in The Lancet Oncology, researchers in France
evaluated the effectiveness of three hot-flash medications -- cyproterone,
medroxyprogesterone, and the antidepressant
venlafaxine -- in men who had 14 or more hot flashes per week after
six months of hormonal prostate cancer treatment.
The 311 men were randomly divided into three groups and treated with one of
the three hot-flash treatments for 12 weeks. Participants were asked to report
the frequency and severity of hot flashes at weeks four, eight, and 12 during
The results showed all three drugs reduced the frequency of hot flashes, but
the hormonal treatments, cyproterone and medroxyprogesterone, were more
effective than venlafaxine at combating hot flashes throughout the study.
The median reduction in number of daily hot flashes after four weeks of
treatment was 47% for venlafaxine, 95% for cyproterone, and 88% for
However, researcher Jacques Irani of University Hospital in Poitiers,
France, and colleagues say cyproterone is a recognized treatment for prostate
cancer and could interfere with other hormone-based treatments. Therefore,
medroxyprogesterone could be considered the new standard in treating hot
flashes in men undergoing hormone therapy for prostate cancer.