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Health Canada Fears Link between Propecia and Prostate Cancer

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Ottawa, ONIn attempting to reverse their hair loss, Canadian men who use Propecia finasteride may be at risk for losing a lot more, given a suspected link between finasteride and high-grade prostate cancer. Health Canada, the Canadian equivalent to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), notes that while the risk is small, it is a risk nonetheless.

Propecia side effects include, in some patients, impotence. Some men who have experienced Propecia sexual dysfunction were not able to regain functionality once finasteride was stopped.

However, Heath Canada's focus upon the analysis of study data remains the association between Propecia and high-grade prostate cancer. The latter is a rare, but more aggressive form of cancer, capable of spreading more rapidly than low-grade prostate cancer.

In a statement issued March 19, Health Canada noted that its review of two larger, international clinical trials demonstrate that long-term use of finasteride (5mg) in men 50 years of age or older "was associated with a small, but statistically significant increased risk of high-grade prostrate cancer."

Finasteride 5mg is sold as Proscar, while the 1mg formulation is known as Propecia. Health Canada noted that while Propecia was not included in the clinical trials, a potential risk has nonetheless not been ruled out.

Canwest News Service noted March 19 that Health Canada issued new warning labels for both Proscar and Propecia. As for the Propecia long-term side effects relating to the risk for prostate cancer, Health Canada said that it defines long-term use as ingestion on a daily basis over a period of at least four years.

It should also be noted that while the focus remains on Propecia side effects in men, according to the FDA, Propecia could also be a risk to women if they handle the drug improperly. Propecia tablets are coated and thus will prevent contact with the active ingredient during normal handling. However, should the tablets be crushed or broken, absorption of the active ingredient through the skin could pose a risk to a male fetus in a pregnant female.


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