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Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic - Medications

Pain-relief and appetite-stimulant drugs

Pain-relief and appetite-stimulant drugs may be used when prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

  • Steroids, such as hydrocortisone or prednisone, control pain and improve appetite.
  • Radioactive drugs, such as radium-223 (Xofigo), samarium-153, and strontium-89, are called radionuclides. They are absorbed near the area of bone pain. Then the radiation that is released helps relieve the pain caused by tumors that have spread to the bone.
  • Denosumab (Xgeva) and bisphosphonate drugs, such as pamidronate (Aredia) and zoledronic acid (Zometa), may help relieve bone pain and prevent osteoporosis, which is sometimes caused by long-term hormone therapy.

Pain medicines are made that specifically treat mild, moderate, and severe pain, as well as different types of pain such as burning and tingling. To learn more, see:

actionset.gif Cancer: Controlling Cancer Pain.

For more information, see the topic Cancer Pain.

Medicines for treating side effects

Hormone therapy can cause loss of sexual desire, hot flashes, enlarged and painful breasts, and erection problems.

  • For men who have erection problems after surgery, medicines such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), or vardenafil (Levitra) may be helpful. Using medicines soon after surgery may help men regain sexual function. Talk with your doctor about your situation.
  • Taking a temporary break from hormone therapy can make some side effects go away.
  • To relieve breast pain, the anti-estrogen breast cancer medicine called tamoxifen or radiation treatment is commonly used. Tamoxifen can also help reverse breast growth. Also, it causes hot flashes.
  • For hot flashes, taking a certain kind of antidepressant may help. Paroxetine or venlafaxine may help with hot flashes. But they have different side effects. So if you are having a problem with hot flashes, talk with your doctor.

What to think about

Antiandrogen hormone therapy also may cause diarrhea, breast tenderness, and nausea. Cases of liver problems, some serious, have been reported.

Hormone therapy can also affect the bones, making them thin and brittle and more likely to break. Medicines such as bisphosphonates and denosumab may help prevent bone loss during long-term hormone therapy.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 30, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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