Generic Name: Flutamide
Product Name: Eulexin
Flutamide is a drug which is used in the treatment of prostate cancer. It is a type of hormonal therapy. Hormonal therapies interfere with the production or action of particular hormones in the body. Hormones are substances produced naturally in the body, where they act as chemical messengers and help control the activity of cells and organs.
Most prostate cancers rely on supplies of the male hormone testosterone (which is produced by the testes and adrenal glands) to grow. Flutamide has a structure similar to the male sex hormone testosterone. It works by blocking and preventing the binding of testosterone to the receptors on the surface of the prostate cancer cells. The easiest way to understand the way flutamide works is to liken the process to that of a lock and key. On the surface of the prostate cancer cells, there are proteins called receptors. The receptors are the lock and testosterone is the key. When testosterone comes into contact with the receptors it fits into the lock and activates the cancer cells to divide, so the tumour grows. Flutamide imitates the action of testosterone and fits into the lock but the key does not turn and the cells do not divide. The flutamide remains in place and prevents the testosterone from reaching the cancer cells so they either grow more slowly or stop growing altogether.
Flutamide may be given together with injections of another type of hormonal therapy drug (goserelin, buserelin or leuprorelin). These drugs block the production of a hormone produced by the pituitary gland (luteinising hormone) which normally stimulates the production of testosterone.
Common side effects
Breast tenderness or fullness. Some men may notice slight breast swelling and tenderness. Your doctor can prescribe medication to reduce any discomfort. Diarrhoea. This occurs quite commonly and may be accompanied by abdominal cramps. Diarrhoea can usually be easily controlled but occasionally it may be severe.
For further information talk to your doctor.