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Drug Used to Prevent Prostate Cancer Won't Lower Quality of Life

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Proscar (finasteride), a drug used to treat an enlarged prostate, does not reduce the quality of life of men who use it for a prolonged period of time, found a new study funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Published Sept. 12 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the research involved men aged 55 and older enrolled in a seven-year randomized clinical trial looking at the drug's possible use for prostate cancer prevention.

Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, led by Carol Moinpour of the public health sciences division, examined three areas of patients' quality of life. Proscar did not significantly affect the men's physical functioning, mental health or vitality, according to a journal news release.

Participants completed questionnaires three months before the study and six months after the study began. They were also surveyed once a year for the next seven years.

Men who smoked or had other health conditions saw more pronounced effects on their quality of life, particularly their physical functioning. The researchers said patients' lifestyles and other health problems should be considered when they are given treatments to prevent disease.

Other factors in the varied group of men made more of a difference than the drug, and "particularly diabetes and current smoking status, had a greater clinically relevant impact on the physical functioning score then did finasteride treatment," the authors wrote.

"Our findings reinforce the need to consider individual differences in age, time on study, smoking status, and [other medical conditions] when evaluating the effect of different preventive interventions on health-related quality of life," they concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about Proscar.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, Sept. 12, 2012

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