Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) agonists, a class of medications primarily used to treat men with prostate cancer, have been associated with a small increased risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke and sudden death in men treated with one of the medications, according to an ongoing analysis of several studies by the FDA.
Based on initial findings, the agency Monday advised:
- Healthcare professionals should be aware of these potential risks and carefully weigh the benefits and risks of GnRH agonists when determining a treatment for patients with prostate cancer.
- Patients receiving a GnRH agonist should be monitored for the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and increases in blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and weight should be managed according to current clinical practice.
However, the agency noted that patients should not stop treatment with a GnRH agonist unless instructed to do so by a healthcare professional.
At this time, the FDA has not made any conclusions about whether GnRH agonists cause an increase in the risk of diabetes and heart disease in patients receiving one of these medications to treat prostate cancer.