About 8 million men in the U.S. between the ages of 50-years-old and 79-years-old suffer from enlarged prostate glands. Drugs used to treat an enlarged prostate gland, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), are of two types: 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and alpha-blockers.
In a study, the researchers studied the association between 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and hip fractures. These drugs inhibit the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone and prevent BPH. Many other studies had suggested the role of dihydrotestosterone in the metabolism of bone, but there is a lack of evidence to prove this association, according to researchers led by Steven J. Jacobsen, MD, of Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
In this study, published in, The Journal of the American Medical Association, data was collected from 7,076 men who had hip fractures. The comparison group included 7,076 men in the same age group without any hip fractures. Both the groups had a similar percentage of people suffering from BPH.
The results of the study show that:
- 109 men in the fracture group had taken 5-alpha reductase inhibitors
- 142 men in the group without any hip fractures had taken 5-alpha reductase inhibitors
This shows that 5-alpha reductase inhibitors are not associated with increased chances of hip fracture. But it is possible that the drug may reduce the risk of fractures, according to researchers.
A slight increase in the risk of hip fracture was found in people who took alpha blockers. More people, about 32%, in the fracture group had taken alpha blockers when compared to 30% of the participants in the no hip fracture group. This was not the focus of the study and hence requires further confirmation to prove the same. This study involved people older than 45-years-old, and more studies are required to see the long-term risks of these drugs in younger people.