An injectable drug that is the first new drug in several years to treat prostate cancer has received FDA approval.
Degarelix suppresses testosterone production, slowing the growth and progression of prostate cancer. It belongs to a class of agents called gonadotropin and works by releasing hormone (GnRH) receptor inhibitors.
That is just one therapy for treating prostate cancer. Others include observation, surgical removal of the prostate gland, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Degarelix is made for Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Parsippany, New Jersey by a lab in Germany, Rentschler Biotechnologie Gmbh. It will be released during the first quarter of 2009 in Europe, according to the company.
During a clinical trial, Degarelix did not cause the temporary increase in testosterone as seen with other drugs that affect GnRH receptors such as leuprolide. Either drug causes testosterone levels to be suppressed to levels equaling surgical removal of the testes.
Side effects include injection site reaction, hot flashes, increased weight, fatigue, and increases in some liver enzymes, reports the FDA.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among U.S. men, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers overall.
The American Cancer Society reports that in 2008, 186,320 men will be diagnosed with the disease and 28,660 will die from prostate cancer.
Recently, 35,000 men participating in a national study on vitamin E and selenium's ability to fight prostate cancer were told to stop taking their supplements because of indications that vitamin E may slightly increase the chance of getting prostate cancer. #