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Side Effects of


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Description:: Antiandrogens prevent androgen hormones like testosterone from exhibiting their effects in the body. There are two sub-types: steroidal and non-steroidal. They are used to treat a vast array of conditions that are dependent on these hormones. These include prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, sex reassignment, alopecia (balding), and hirsutism (excessive hair growth) in females.

Antiandrogens exhibit a range of troubling side effects, including serious adverse reactions such as high blood potassium and low sodium (both of which can result in irregular heartbeat), and sexual dysfunction (International Scholarly Research Notices “Adverse Effects of Androgen Deprivation Therapy for Prostate Cancer: Prevention and Management,” Apr 2013).

Common Reactions and Warnings for Non-Steroidal Antiandrogens

Non-steroidal antiandrogens can have a number of side effects, including:

  • Hot flushes (49% of patients for bicalutamide)
  • Pain (27% for bicalutamide)
  • Back pain
  • Asthenia (lack of energy)
  • Infection
  • Pelvic pain
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Gynecomastia (enlargement of male breast tissue)
  • Breast pain
  • (Archivio Italiano di Urologia, Andrologia : Organo Ufficiale [di] Societa Italiana di Ecografia Urologica e Nefrologica: “Antiandrogens: a summary review of pharmacodynamic properties and tolerability in prostate cancer therapy,” Dec 1999).

    Common Reactions and Warnings for Steroidal Antiandrogens

    Steroidal antiandrogens are also associated with a large number of side effects (Hormone Therapy in Breast and Prostate Cancer: “Steroidal Antiandrogens,” 2002), including:

  • Gynaecomastia (13% of patients on Spironolactone)
  • Hyponatremia (low blood concentration of sodium)
  • Hyperkalemia (high blood concentration of potassium)
  • Changes in vaginal secretions
  • Paresthesia (pins and needles)
  • Amenorrhea (no menstruation)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Libido reduced in women
  • Malaise
  • Weakness
  • Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test

    MD Labs’ pharmacogenetic test, Rxight® is based on the sequencing of significant genetically encoded enzymes to establish how you are likely to respond to hundreds of clinically significant over-the-counter and prescription medications (including antiandrogen drugs). With the test results, you and your pharmacist can work together with your prescriber to identify any potentially dangerous or ineffective medications – ideally before you even begin treatment.

    How Does Pharmacogenetic Testing Work?

    Many patients do not develop side effects when taking these drugs, while other are not as fortunate. Most antiandrogens are metabolized by a specific liver enzyme. The variability in metabolism from patient to patient can in part be explained by variations in the genes that are responsible for coding the enzyme which is responsible for the breakdown and assimilation of antiandrogen medications. Genetic differences in these enzymes, which are analyzed with Rxight® DNA testing, have been shown to determine the probability of developing side effects, or conversely not deriving therapeutic benefit.

    Contributors to this Article:
    Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

    Antiandrogens Tested Include:

    Read more about Rxight® DNA Testing For Medication Tolerance