Side effects of hormone therapy for prostate cancer can include:

  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Increased body fat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Bone thinning, which can lead to broken bones
  • Hot flashes
  • Decreased body hair, smaller genitalia and growth of breast tissue
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in behavior
  • Problems with metabolism

Intermittent dosing

To minimize the side effects of hormone therapy medications, your doctor may recommend you take them only until prostate cancer responds to the treatment. You might need to resume these medications if the disease recurs or progresses.

Early research shows this intermittent dosing of hormone therapy medications may reduce the risk of side effects. However, additional studies are needed to determine the long-term survival benefits of intermittent therapy.

Your doctor might suggest intermittent dosing if:

  • You have an elevated level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood, but no other evidence of spreading cancer
  • There is evidence of spreading cancer, but survival is a secondary factor for you compared with quality of life