Side effects of hormone therapy for prostate cancer may include:
- Bone thinning
- Erectile dysfunction
- Growth of breast tissue
- Heart disease
- Hot flashes
- Loss of sex drive
- Loss of muscle mass
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
In general, the risk of side effects increases the longer you take hormone therapy medications.
Intermittent dosing may reduce side effects of medications
To minimize the side effects of hormone therapy medications, your doctor may recommend you take these medications only until prostate cancer responds to the treatment and stop taking them once the cancer is under control. You may need to resume these medications if the disease recurs or progresses.
Early research shows this intermittent dosing of hormone therapy drugs may reduce the risk of side effects. But long-term studies are needed to confirm that survival isn't negatively affected.
April 26, 2013
Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6911-9..C2009-1-60786-3--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6911-9&uniqId=310232887-6. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Prostate cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Dawson NA. Secondary endocrine therapies for castration-resistant prostate cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 20, 2013.