What are the potential side-effects associated with long-term use of ADT?

This is a retrospective study built upon data from some 200,000 prostate cancer patients, all over the age of 66 years. The patients had had various treatments, but the authors focused primarily on the side effects of ADT.

Of potential side effects from long-term use of ADT, the one with the highest risk of an increase was bone fractures with a 40% rise that increased over time. Similarly, the risk for diabetes went up some 20% and it similarly increased with the amount of time the patients were on ADT. Other side effects that were elevated for patients on ADT included a slight increased risk of dementia (16 %) and a slightly lower, but still statistically significant increase in the risk of coronary heart disease and a heart attack.

It will not surprise anyone on ADT that hormone therapy leads to sexual dysfunction. But data from patients who had their prostate cancer already treated with either surgery or radiotherapy showed that those primary treatments were the dominant factors leading to sexual dysfunction.

Although not flagged by the authors, it is worth noting that most of the side effects reported by the authors can reduced, if not avoided, with regular physical exercise.

For more information, please visit the link, below:


Nguyen C, Lairson DR, Swartz MD, & Du XL. (2018). Risks of Major Long-term Side Effects Associated with Androgen Deprivation Therapy in Men with Prostate Cancer. Pharmacotherapy. doi: 10.1002/phar.2168. [Epub ahead of print]