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Finasteride Reconsidered for Prostate Cancer Treatment

An article in The New York Times’ Well blog reports that “a new study has reignited a debate about whether men should use a baldness drug to prevent prostate cancer.” Researchers studied finasteride — a common generic drug used to shrink enlarged prostates and treat male pattern baldness. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had denied approval for the medication to treat prostate cancer almost two decades ago because “slightly more men who used the drug developed fast-growing tumors.” The new research, however, showed that 14 to 17 years after the beginning of the study, “survival was the same among men who used finasteride as those who took a placebo.” Researchers say this suggests “that the drug was not causing the aggressive tumors. Instead, it was more likely that by reducing the size of a man’s prostate, the drug made it easier to find aggressive tumors.”

Read it in The New York Times’ Well blog.

Read the study in NEJM.