New program to help maintain bone health in men with prostate cancer on ADT announced

Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE: WPI) today announced a new program encouraging health professionals to help maintain the bone health of prostate cancer patients who are on long-term androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Nearly two million men are receiving ADT, a palliative treatment for prostate cancer that, while highly effective and considered the "gold therapy," can cause bone loss and increase a man's risk for osteoporosis.

As part of the program, Watson is providing urologists, oncologists and other health professionals with free 30-day supplies of calcium and vitamin D supplements along with educational patient brochures on how to help maintain bone health in men with prostate cancer on ADT.

Each supplement tablet contains 600 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D, and when taken twice daily, can help prostate cancer patients meet the daily amounts recommended by the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) for adult men 50 years of age or older.

"The bone health side effects of long-term ADT are a serious issue, yet few cancer patients are being informed about this risk or about the lifestyle changes and drug therapy that can help prevent bone loss," said Neal Shore, MD, FACS, CPI, Medical Director at the Carolina Urologic Research Center. "Because men with prostate cancer are more often receiving their care from a urologist or oncologist, it is important that specialists are educating their male patients about bone health rather than assuming it is the responsibility of the general practitioner."

Androgen deprivation therapy - the use of synthetic luteinizing hormone releasing hormone analogs (LHRH) therapy - is an effective and commonly used long-term therapeutic option for treating localized and advanced prostate cancer. LHRH therapy slows the growth of prostate cancer by suppressing the production of testosterone in the testicles. Over time, this decreased level of testosterone can, however, cause bone loss. Men, on average, lose about 0.5 percent to 1 percent of their bone mineral density every year. That loss can increase to about 4 percent to 13 percent per year in men on long-term ADT.

Given the risk of bone loss with ADT therapy, NCCN recommends that men with prostate cancer discuss the risk with their oncologist and personal physician as well as undergo frequent monitoring for osteoporosis using the NOF's guidelines for the general population. The guidelines include recommendations for calcium supplements (1200 mg daily) and vitamin D (800-1,000 IU daily) for all men over age 50 years and additional treatment for men who have a greater than or equal to 3 percent likelihood of suffering a hip fracture or greater than or equal to 20 percent likelihood of suffering a major osteoporosis-related fracture within the next 10 years.

Along with getting the daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D, the NOF also recommends older men protect their bone health by exercising regularly (weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises), avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol, and talking to their doctor about a bone mineral density test. Prescription medication that helps protect against bone loss also might be an option for patients at high risk for fracture.

"Watson is committed to urologic health," said Fred Wilkinson, Executive Vice President, Global Brands at Watson. "Our new supplement program will help physicians encourage their prostate cancer patients who are on long-term androgen deprivation therapy to make a commitment to good bone health."

SOURCE Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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