Prostate cancer treatment drug linked with higher dementia risk

A study of more than 150,000 men with prostate cancer found that a certain hormone treatment is linked with increased risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

There’s a 20-percent higher chance of having dementia for older men who have taken the prostate cancer treatment, according to the research study from JAMA Network. That drug treatment, called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), is used to suppress male hormones (like testosterone) that can help to spread prostate cancer in the body.

The research study looked at over 150,000 men, age 66 or older, that had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Researchers monitored participants over a period of at least 10 years after diagnoses.

Among those that were given ADT to treat their prostate cancer, there was a 20-percent increase in risk of dementia and a 14-percent higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

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“Our results suggest that clinicians need to carefully weigh the long-term risks and benefits of exposure to ADT in patients with a prolonged life expectancy and stratify patients based on dementia risk prior to ADT initiation,” the researchers wrote in their study.

The study also found that the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s increased with the number of doses of ADT patients were given.