GENERIC NAME: bicalutamide
BRAND NAME: Casodex
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Bicalutamide is an oral medication that is used for treating cancer of the prostate. It belongs to a class of drugs called anti-androgens which includes flutamide (Eulexin) and nilutamide (Nilandron). Androgens (an example of which is testosterone) are hormones that are produced and released by the adrenal glands. They are responsible for supporting (stimulating) tissues that primarily are thought of as male, for example, the male prostate gland. Male traits that also are influenced by androgens include facial and body hair, and small breasts. Anti-androgens prevent the action of androgens by blocking the receptors for androgens on the cells of tissues, for example, the cells of the prostate gland. In addition to normal prostate cells, androgens also have been shown to stimulate the growth of cancer cells within the prostate. Bicalutamide is thought to prevent the growth of prostate cancer by blocking the effects of androgens on the cancer cells. Bicalutamide was approved by the FDA in 1995.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Bicalutamide is used in combination with another medication, a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analog, to treat advanced prostate cancer.
SIDE EFFECTS: When bicalutamide and an LHRH analog are given together, the most common side effect is hot flashes (50% of patients) and facial flushing. Alcohol may worsen this reaction, and so it should be cautiously consumed.
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