Finasteride linked with rare breast cancer risk in men

OTTAWA – Healthcare practitioners and patients are advised by Health Canada regarding a labeling update comprising safety information on rare reports of breast cancer in men using Finasteride drugs.
All across Canada, finasteride is prescribed under 2 brand names, “Propecia” and “Proscar.”

Generic versions of 1mg and 5mg finasteride products are also marketed. While Propecia (1 mg tablets) is used to treat male pattern baldness, Proscar (5 mg tablets) is used to treat and control a non-cancerous enlarged prostate condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Finasteride is prescribed for use in men only.

According to reports, both 1 mg and 5 mg finasteride formulations have caused male breast cancer, a vast majority of those cases being associated with the 5mg formulation. Although existing available evidence is not suggestive of male breast cancer with finasteride use, this possibility cannot be ruled out at present.

While Propecia, Proscar, and several generic finasteride products have already undergone a labeling update to incorporate details on the potential risk of male breast cancer, updates to the rest of the generics will follow shortly.
Patients consuming finasteride should immediately report to their physician any changes including breast enlargement, lumps, tenderness, pain or nipple discharge.

Healthcare professionals should be consulted if patients have any queries or concerns about their finasteride treatment. Doctors and patients can refer to essential prescribing and safety information on “Drug labels,” or “Product Monographs,” which can be accessed by searching Health Canada’s Drug Product Database.

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