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Painkillers Affect Prostate-Specific Antigen Levels

Regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce prostate-specific antigen levels

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels may be reduced by regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), according to research published online Sept. 8 in Cancer.

Eric A. Singer, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., and colleagues conducted a study of 1,319 men over 40 years of age who participated in the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The men's PSA levels were determined, as was their use of acetaminophen and NSAIDs.

In all, 19.8 percent of the men reported using NSAIDs and 1.3 percent reported using acetaminophen, and both groups had lower PSA levels than those who did not use the drugs, with levels among NSAID users at 0.9 times of those who did not use either drug, the researchers report. Those who reported regular use of both drugs had PSA levels 1.8 times greater than non-drug users, but the difference was not statistically significant.

"The interplay between NSAID consumption and serum PSA is complex and may involve a variety of different pathways and variables. Nevertheless, the results of the current study are consistent with previous reports that NSAID use is a protective factor for the development of prostate cancer," the authors write. "Conversely, NSAIDs may reduce serum PSA levels without truly affecting the natural history of prostate carcinogenesis, and may result in the underdiagnosis of this condition."

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