Men definitely want to have their BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) treated so they avoid unpleasant side effects and complications from the disease AND because they do not want to end up needing prostate surgery down the road, with its own set of complications.
One class of drugs, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which is used to treat BPH, was thought to have a rather negative side effect on bone health. These drugs were thought to compromise bone density over time and, as we age, a common complication of decreasing bone density is hip fractures. We fear hip fractures in patients because they are associated with a downward spiral in terms of quality of health and ultimately they are associated with increased mortality rate.
It seems that overall use of the drugs in this class to treat BPH did not increase rates of hip fracture. There was however a small association with hip fracture just when men get started on these drugs, so researchers suggest caution with initial dosages as your doctor introduces these medications. Bottom line?
These drugs may be excellent for treatment of BPH. Just talk to your doctor about any risks, including the possibility of hip fracture, as you start therapy. It may be worth it to have a bone density test every 6 months or every year, if you are kept on these drugs long term.
Published On: October 10, 2008