TUESDAY, Oct. 7, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- A new study found no link between the use of a drug to treat an enlarged prostate and an increase in hip fractures in men.
The study, published in the Oct. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, does not completely clear the class of medications known as 5-a reductase inhibitors, because it did not find out how the drugs affect long-term bone health.
The inhibitors, such as finasteride and dutasteride, are a first-line treatment for an enlarged prostate -- a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, which is common in older men. It has been estimated that more than 8 million American men age 50 to 79 years will meet the current guidelines for considering treatment options for BPH by 2010, according to background information in the article.
The new study included 7,076 men, 45 years old and older, who suffered a hip fracture between 1997 and 2006. The "control" patients were 7,076 men without a hip fracture during the same time period. During this period, finasteride was the only 5-a reductase inhibitor given to the study participants.
The researchers found no relationship between exposure to the drug and risk of fractures.
The research was led by Kaiser Permanente Southern California of Pasadena.
"These data suggest that 5-a reductase inhibitors do not confer a negative risk for bone health and, in fact, may lower the risk of hip fracture. While presumably this lower risk is related to hormonal mechanisms, further understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon may lead to new insights that can be exploited for preventive measures," the study authors wrote.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about prostate changes.