One of the two FDA approved hair loss drugs has been exonerated, in newly published research, of a link to prostrate cancer. We look closer.
Marketed primarily under the name Propecia, Finasteride is one of only two hair loss drugs that have been ratified as safe to use by the US FDA. The story, completed by this latest publication of results, has been 25 years in the making and has had its ups and downs in that time.
Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT)
The principal investigator, Dr Ian Thompson (pictured), has overseen this remarkable study which began in 1993. Between '93 and '97 nearly 19,000 men took part in a randomized trial. In 2003 they announced that the medication reduced the risk of prostrate cancer by almost 25%. That was a huge outcome but it was tempered by some results, from the same study, that indicated a slight increase in the number of high-grade prostrate cancers. A negative finding that resulted in warning labels being added to bottles.
This month at the world's largest gathering of urologists in San Francisco, Dr Thompson will present the findings of their 25 year study on the effects of finasteride. He will confirm to the audience that the final results show there is no statistical link between the medication and any increase in the incidents of prostrate cancer of any kind.
In his own, understandably excited, words: "What we can now say is that finasteride not only significantly reduces a man's risk of prostrate cancer, it is safe to use based on very long-term follow-up in our study. In PCPT we found no increased risk of prostate cancer death in men who took finasteride compared to men who didn't. These results are transformational. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in American men and we have found an inexpensive, effective drug that can prevent it. I'm pleased to report that we've answered the questions and closed the book."
HIS Hair Clinic
It is not often you see language as emphatic as that from a researcher describing their results. It reflects the certainty acquired over 25 years of study. It definitely lifts one of the dark clouds that has loomed over finasteride for a very long time, and while it does not remove all of them it puts finasteride in a new and more important place for the medical community... and for men with a genetic predisposition to develop prostate cancer. If you would like to see the original article in Eureka Alert! please click here
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