Prostate cancer drugs can cause depression: Study

Prostate cancer drugs can cause depression: Study

Prostate cancer, which develops mainly in older men, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American males. Though the condition can be treated with the use of certain medications, the potential side effects of the treatment can be a cause of concern.

Now, a recent study by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts has identified a potential association between lowering of mood and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) used for treatment of prostate cancer (PCa).

The study, titled “Association of Androgen Deprivation Therapy With Depression in Localized Prostate Cancer” and published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology in April 2016, aimed to find a possible link between ADT and the occurrence of depression.

Prevalence of depression higher in patients given ADT

The ADT, popularly known as hormone therapy, is widely used to decrease levels of testosterone and other male hormones to curb the development of prostate cancer cells.

As part of the study, the researchers enrolled 78,552 sexagenarians suffering from stage I to stage III prostate cancer, using the database linked to SEER-Medicare from 1992 to 2006. Of the total participants, only 33,882 were given the ADT.

The scientists observed that those who received the ADT were 23 percent more likely to experience symptoms of depression and were also at a 29 percent higher risk of getting inpatient therapeutic intervention for psychiatric disorders.

On continuing the hormone treatment for an extended time period, the scientists observed that the risk increased from 12 percent with six or fewer months of the treatment to 26 percent with seven to 11 months of the treatment, which further increased to 37 percent with a year or more of the treatment.

Dr. Paul L. Nguyen, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a senior author of the study, said, “We know patients on hormone therapy often experience decreased sexual function, weight gain and have less energy – many factors that could lead to depression. After taking a deeper look we discovered a significant association between men being treated with ADT for PCa and depression.”

Though the study tried to focus on the concept of ADT causing depression, further research is needed to understand whether some people, especially those with a history of mental illness, are more vulnerable to experience depression following ADT. As nearly 50,000 men undergo ADT each year, it is critical for patients to look at the pros and cons of the ADT prescribed to them and understand the risk of associated depression.

Recovery from mental illness

Most of the mental illnesses can be treated, but it must be well understood that the same therapy does not work for everyone. This means that many people who experience stress can be treated completely, but in most cases it is difficult to decide the type of treatment to be used.

If a loved one is suffering from depression or any other mental problem, call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 for immediate assistance. Sovereign Mental Health Services is committed to providing the best mental health treatment with a holistic approach for various mental illnesses, including depression.

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