The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.

The type of treatment you will have will depend on the stage of the cancer, the size of the tumor, your age, and overall condition. The main prescription drug therapies used to treat prostate cancer are hormonal therapies.

Hormonal Therapy

Prostate cells need male hormones, called androgens, to grow and work properly. The aim of hormonal therapy is to reduce the amount of male hormones in your body so that prostate cells are not stimulated to grow. The most effective hormonal therapy is by surgical removal of the testes (bilateral orchiectomy). This is simple and effective, but irreversible. Often hormonal therapies are combined to achieve greater effects.

There are several different types of prescription hormonal therapies, including:

]]>Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogs]]>

  • Leuprolide (Lupron)
  • Goserelin (Zoladex)


  • Flutamide (Eulexin)
  • Bicalutamide (Casodex)
  • Nilutamide (Nilandron)

]]>Androgen suppressants]]>

  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)

]]> Luteinizing Hormone-releasing Hormone (LHRH) Analogs

Common names include:

These medications decrease the production of the male hormone, testosterone, from your testicles. These medications are given by injection into a muscle every 3 or 4 months.

Possible side effects include:

]]> Anti-androgens

Common names include:

Anti-androgens prevent your body from using the male hormones, called androgens, that are made by your body. These medications are given by pill.

Possible side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Breast growth or tenderness

]]> Androgen Suppressants

Common name: ketoconazole]]> (Nizoral)

Ketoconazole blocks the production of androgens. It is considered a second-line hormonal treatment and is usually used when other medications are not working.

With long-term use, ketoconazole may cause liver problems.

Special Considerations

If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:

  • Take your medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Do not stop taking them without talking to your doctor.
  • Do not share them.
  • Know what the results and side effects. Report them to your doctor.
  • Some drugs can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one drug. This includes over-the-counter medication and herb or dietary supplements.
  • Plan ahead for refills so you don’t run out.