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J Alzheimers Dis Rep. 2018 Jun 30;2(1):123-127. doi: 10.3233/ADR-180052.

No Relationship of Anti-Androgens to Alzheimer's Disease or Cognitive Disorder in the MedWatch Database.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.
Severn Health Solutions, Severna Park, MD, USA.



Two large studies suggest that risk is not increased. But other studies have found increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and impaired cognition.


To determine whether androgen deprivation therapy increases the risk of impaired cognition or Alzheimer's disease in men with prostate cancer.


We used data from MedWatch, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program. Machine-readable data from MedWatch, including adverse drug reaction reports from manufacturers, are part of a public database. We used the online tool OpenVigil 2.1 to query the database. OpenVigil calculates proportional reporting ratios (PRRs) from adverse drug reaction reports to determine whether the combination of drug and adverse event are related. For example, PRR = 2 indicates that the adverse reaction is two times more frequent in users of the drug than in the general population.


We analyzed adverse event reporting data for these androgen-deprivation drugs: The luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists leuprolide, goserelin triptorelin, histrelin; the anti-androgens flutamide, nilutamide, enzalutamide, and bicalutamide; the LHRH antagonist degarelix; the CYP17 inhibitor abiraterone; the anti-fungal ketoconazole, which is also an anti-androgen administered to men with advanced prostate cancer.


Our analysis of FDA MedWatch adverse event data reports does not support the idea that androgen deprivation therapy per se is associated with Alzheimer's disease or cognitive dysfunction. Perhaps the prostate cancer itself, or the stress it imposes on the man who has it, may be detrimental to mood and intellect, increasing susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease and cognitive disorder.


Alzheimer’s disease; MedWatch; OpenVigil; androgen deprivation; cognitive

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