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What You Need to Know About Androcur

Tuesday 21 July 2020
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. Why is Androcur Prescribed?

a. How does Androcur Work?

II. Androcur for Prostate Cancer

III. Androcur for Hypersexuality

IV. Androcur for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

V. Side Effects of Androcur

VI. What Else Should You Know?

Why is Androcur Prescribed?

Androcur is the brand name of cyproterone acetate and is used to lower the amount of testosterone in the testicles. Androcur may be prescribed to help treat prostate cancer, hypersexuality, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and other conditions. Cyproterone was one of the first anti-androgen medications. [1]

Androcur is a steroidal anti-androgen medication that is taken orally. Anti-androgen medications block the effects of androgens, which are hormones such as testosterone and androstenedione. These hormones affect male traits, including facial hair and muscle development. [2] Both men and women have androgens, but the levels are much higher in males.

a. How does Androcur Work?

Cyproterone is a progestin hormone. Cyproterone works by binding to proteins known as androgen receptors. By binding themselves to androgen receptors, they block androgens such as testosterone from binding with these proteins. This helps to slow down or stop the effectiveness of testosterone and other androgens. [1]

Androcur for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate. Only men have a prostate, which is a small gland that produces semen in order to transport sperm produced in the testicles. [3] Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer that affects men. The early stages of prostate cancer are usually confined in the prostate. When the cancer is contained in the prostate, there is more chance of successful treatment. [4]

Many prostate cancers need the hormone testosterone in order to survive and to grow. These are known as androgen-sensitive cancers. Prostate cancer, particularly cancer cells, require androgens during the early stages of cancer.

A blue ribbon for prostate cancer

Androcur and other anti-androgen medications may be prescribed as part of a treatment plan for prostate cancer. Androcur is not a cure for prostate cancer but can help to slow down or prevent the spread of it. Unlike other prostate cancer medications, androgens do not decrease the production of the hormone testosterone. As mentioned above, anti-androgen medications work by blocking the testosterone receptor instead. This lessens the effectiveness of the testosterone. [5]

When prescribed to treat prostate cancer, Androcur is typically used in combination with other treatments, including surgery or chemical castration. [1] As well as blocking testosterone, cyproterone acetate also helps to control hot flashes and other symptoms that may be caused by other prostate treatments. [6]

Androcur for Hypersexuality

Hypersexuality is also known as compulsive sexual behavior or sexual addiction. It is a disorder that causes excessive sexual behaviors and urges. Hypersexuality can directly affect a person’s emotional health, relationships, and career and may cause legal problems. [7] Hypersexuality is a process addiction similar to gambling addiction. People become addicted to the neurochemical high produced by their fantasies.

Medication may be prescribed for men that have hypersexuality as part of a treatment program and can help control the libido of adult men. When Androcur is taken for hypersexuality, you may be required to sign an agreement before treatment begins. [8]

All men do not all have the same levels of testosterone, and testosterone levels do not directly affect the intensity of sexual thoughts. However, lowering the testosterone levels of a man by 30-40% can have a significant effect on a person’s sexual arousal. The effects of Androcur and other anti-androgens are reversible once treatment ends, so medication should only be used as part of a hypersexuality treatment plan. [9]

Androcur for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that affects females and can cause symptoms, including irregular periods, malfunctioning ovaries, and increased levels of androgen. Higher androgen levels can result in women having excess facial or body hair, severe acne, or male-pattern baldness. [10]

a woman shaving her face

Women that have PCOS may have different symptoms to one another. PCOS medications all treat different symptoms and medications do not stimulate ovulation and reduce hair growth simultaneously. Therefore, it is important to choose which symptom or symptoms get priority for treatment. When treating this condition, doctors need to individually tailor treatment plans. [11]

Androcur can be prescribed to lower androgen levels and can be used alongside other medications to treat PCOS. In particular, Androcur is used to lower androgen levels and reduce facial and body hair. Cyproterone blocks the actions of testosterone at the hair follicles. Often, Androcur may be prescribed alongside birth control medications when treating this disorder.

Side Effects of Androcur

Medications are developed to treat and prevent specific medical conditions. Like all medications, unpleasant side effects may occur when taking Androcur. There are several factors that affect the range, frequency, and severity of side effects. These factors include the patient’s health, age, other medications taken, organ function, and alcohol intake. [12] Taking Androcur in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed may also increase the risk of side effects.

Common side effects of cyproterone include:

  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Nausea and stomach upset
  • Face and neck flushing
  • Lowered sexual desire and performance
  • Temporary loss of body hair
  • Breast soreness or swelling [6]

Androcur is prescribed when your doctor believes that the benefit of the medication outweighs the risk of side effects. However, if any of the following more serious side effects occur, then you should seek immediate medical attention:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Light-colored stools, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds, bloody diarrhea or black, sticky bowel movements
  • Sudden severe headaches with slurred speech, loss of coordination, loss of vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, numbness, heat, or swelling in the arms and legs. [13]

What Else Should You Know?

In addition to the side effects of this medication, there are also some other things that you should know before taking Androcur.

This medication can affect sperm production in men, causing temporary infertility. Fertility is usually regained a few months after the end of treatment. Androcur may also affect the ability to get or maintain an erection. This side effect should also subside a few months after treatment ends. [13]

a woman driving a car

Androcur can cause dizziness or lower levels of alertness. People should not drive, operate machinery, or participate in potentially dangerous activities until they know they will be affected by the medication.

Cyproterone can also increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Where possible, patients should avoid direct sunlight when the sun is hottest, wear protective clothing, and use sunscreen. Also, it's important to avoid sunlamps and tanning beds. [14]

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.