Flutamide is an antiandrogen drug that is also sold under the Eulexin brand name. This drug blocks the activity of testosterone, an androgen, or male hormone. Doctors may prescribe this medication to treat prostate cancer in men, as testosterone often causes prostate cancer tumors to grow and spread to other parts of the body. Patients usually take flutamide in a pill form with a glass of water.
Men who take flutamide may experience side effects in some cases. Liver damage, while rare, may occur and can result in hospitalization or death. Potential symptoms of liver damage are vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain. Unusual fatigue and yellowing of the skin and eyes may also be signs of liver problems. In most instances, patients who develop possible signs of liver damage should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Some users of flutamide may develop less serious side effects that they may want to discuss with their doctors. Men may develop impotence, a loss of sex drive and a reduced sperm count in some cases. Hot flashes, increased sensitivity to sunlight and enlarged breasts have been reported by some male patients.
Allergic reactions to flutamide should typically be evaluated by a doctor and may include hives, breathing problems and swelling of the face, lips or tongue. An overdose of this medication may cause dizziness, slowed breathing and sedation. People who take an excessively high dose of this drug usually need emergency medical assistance, and they may also develop watering eyes and upraised body hair.
Doctors may decide to adjust flutamide dosages or provide special monitoring for patients who smoke or have liver disease. This drug is not generally recommended for women and may cause harmful effects to some unborn babies. Some people who take Warfarin, a blood-thinning drug, may have bleeding problems if they use flutamide.
Men who take flutamide to treat prostate cancer may have problems with urination as well as painful ejaculations, painful bowel movements and pain in the lower back. Cancer of the prostate may also causes a man’s prostate to become enlarged. Physicians may diagnose prostate cancer with results from tests such as a prostate specific antigen test, urinalysis or a prostate biopsy.
Treatment for prostate cancer may vary from patient to patient and may include surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy as well as antiandrogen drugs. Male patients over the age of 60 generally have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer—the disease is rarely found in men under the age of 40. Some individuals who eat a vegetarian diet may have a lower risk of developing this disease.