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Prostate Cancer: Drugs

Question for Department of Health

UIN 214146, tabled on 10 November 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions he has had with the British Medical Association and medical authorities on the link between prostate cancer drugs and fatal heart attacks.

Answered on

19 November 2014

Medicines known as androgen deprivation therapy are widely used and effective for the treatment of prostate cancer and their benefits to patients with prostate cancer outweigh their risks. Androgen deprivation therapy has been associated with a risk of adverse effects on the heart. The product information (Summary of Product Characteristics and Patient Information Leaflet) for these medicines includes warnings about this risk for healthcare professionals and patients.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, as advised by its expert scientific committee the Commission on Human Medicines, continuously monitors the safety of all medicines on the market in the United Kingdom. A recent review of cardiovascular risk by the European regulatory authorities, including UK, concluded that androgen therapy medicines which are used to treat prostate cancer can cause a disturbance in heart rhythm (cardiac QT interval prolongation). The likelihood of this side effect is increased in patients with existing heart disease such as heart failure. The product information of these medicines will be updated to reflect this new information and healthcare professionals will be informed of any new advice.