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Prostate Cancer Drugs Raise Diabetes Risk

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists – a class of drugs used to treat advanced prostate cancer-can increase patients’ risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

These drugs will remain on the market but must carry new label warnings. The risk of diabetes or heart disease may be small, said the FDA, but studies suggest that doctors should monitor the blood sugar levels and signs of heart disease in men taking these drugs. Patients are not advised to stop taking these medications; however, they should discuss any concerns with their doctors.

Before beginning treatment with a GnRH agonist, patients should inform their doctors if they have ever had diabetes, heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke, and should report any history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cigarette smoking.

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