FDA: Prostate Cancer Drugs Raise Diabetes, Heart Risk

New Warnings for Eligard, Lupron, Trelstar, Viadur, Zoladex

By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Oct. 20, 2010 -- A class of drugs used to treat advanced prostate cancer raises patients' risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, the FDA today warned.

The five drugs, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, are approved for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. They are:

  • Eligard
  • Lupron
  • Trelstar
  • Viadur
  • Zoladex

All of the drugs will stay on the market but will be required to carry new label warnings.

The risk that the drugs will trigger diabetes or heart disease/stroke appear small, the FDA says. But recent studies suggest that doctors should monitor blood sugar levels and watch for signs of heart disease in men taking these drugs.

Patients should not stop taking these drugs, but should discuss any concerns with their doctors.

Before beginning treatment with any of these drugs, patients should tell their doctors whether they've ever had diabetes, heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke. They should also report any history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cigarette smoking.

Today's FDA action follows the agency's announcement last May that it was reviewing safety concerns raised by new data on GnRH agonists.

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SOURCES: News release, FDA.FDA web site.

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