Small Doses: News for Pharmacists
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Drugs for Enlarged Prostate May Raise Risk of Depression and Self-Harm, But Not Suicide
There have been concerns that 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, used to treat benign prostate enlargement, increased a man’s risk of depression, self-harm, or suicide. Now, a large retrospective study has found that these drugs (including Avodart, Jalyn, Proscar, and Propecia) appear to increase the risk of depression and self-harm, but not the risk of suicide. The Canadian study linked data for 93,197 men 66 or older who had started on a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor between 2003 and 2013 and matched them with an equal number of men who did not take the drugs. Risk of self-harm was significantly increased during the first 18 months after the drug was started, but not thereafter. Depression risk was elevated during the first 18 months, and continued to be elevated, but to a lesser degree, for the remainder of follow-up. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Welk B, McARthur E, Ordon M et al: Association of suicidality and depression with 5α-reductase inhibitors. JAMA Intern Med. Published online March 20, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0089