Men who have been prescribed Avodart (dutasteride) for prostate enlargement run a serious risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer. This form of prostate cancer metastasizes more rapidly than other forms. As of June 2011, the FDA has required that Avodart and similar drugs, called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, also called 5-ARIs, bear warning labels about this increased risk.
Signs and Symptoms of High-Grade Prostate Cancer
Normally, a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is performed in order to diagnose prostate cancer. This method of testing often allows prostate cancer to be noticed before it can begin causing problems. Although numerous other conditions can mimic the symptoms of prostate cancer, it is important to see a doctor if you notice that:
- It takes a while to begin urinating
- You leak urine even after you’re finished going
- You urinate slowly
- There is blood in your urine or ejaculate
- You suffer from unusual pain in the pelvis or lower back
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer while taking Avodart or another 5-ARI drug, an Avodart lawyer may be able to help you receive compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Avodart and Prostate Cancer Risk
The warnings that the FDA mandated for Avodart (dutasteride) and similar drugs were founded upon a pair of studies that found that men who took these drugs had a considerably higher chance of developing prostate cancer than men who took a placebo. One such study, which was named Reduction by Dutasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE), intended to see how Avodart stacked up against placebos. In the study, more than 8,000 men between the ages of 50 and 79 were followed for a period of four years. Those taking Avodart had a 23 percent smaller risk of developing biopsy-detectable prostate cancer than those who took placebos because of a reduced chance of low-risk tumors.
Unfortunately, Avodart was associated with a significantly higher occurrence of high-grade prostate cancer compared to placebos. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the maker of the drug, tried to use the REDUCE study to get the FDA to allow the drug’s uses to cover prostate cancer prevention, but the plea was rejected. GSK stopped trying when the FDA began requiring warning labels on all 5-ARIs.
If Avodart caused high-grade prostate cancer for you or a family member, you may have the right to legal recourse. It is strongly recommended that you contact an Avodart lawyer near you for help.