The official summary report of the Dutasteride clinical trial came out this month. It is an interesting report. Since the original report came out over a year ago, there has been a lot of discussion from those who were in the trial on whether to continue taking Dutasteride since there appears to be no side effects and an upside benefit potential.
With this latest report, the emails have been flying back and forth about this subject again. Several who have taken dutasteride commented that they saw an improvement in strength. The report also reflects a small improvement in the dutasteride group versus the placebo group. Since I am of the believe that any slowing in the progression is a win … especially at my age, I might be ready to discuss this subject with my doctor.
The section of the report on “Findings” gives me hope. “At 24 months, the placebo group showed a decrease of 4·5% from baseline in weight-scaled muscle strength as indicated by QMA, and the dutasteride group had an increase in strength of 1·3%; the difference between groups (5·8%, 95% CI -5·9 to 17·6; p=0·28) was not significant.” I recognize that researchers are looking for significant evidence of improvement while I am just looking for any improvement at all, or a lessoning of the progression.
Also interesting was, “Quality of life, as measured by the physical component summary of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form version 2, favored dutasteride (change in score from baseline: placebo, -3·6%, vs dutasteride, +2·1%; p=0·01), whereas the mental component summary favored placebo (3·3%vs -3·2%; p=0·03). The dutasteride group had fewer patients reporting falls than did the placebo group (9 vs 16; p=0·048); there were no other significant differences in reported adverse events.”
The interpretation of the trial from a researcher’s perspective reads, “Our study did not show a significant effect of dutasteride on the progression of muscle weakness in SBMA, although there were secondary indications of both positive and negative effects compared with placebo. A longer trial duration or larger number of patients might be needed to show an effect on disease progression. Performance testing, QMA, and quality of life measures were identified as potentially useful endpoints for future therapeutic trials.”
As a result of the recent emails of those who were or continue to take Dutasteride, and the rereading of the report, I am ready to discuss this potential opportunity with my doctor. I am not one to start taking just any drug or therapy with hopes that it will help. I am especially concerned about those individuals that will try anything without it being properly tested and approved. At the same time, I do not want to “look a gift horse in the mouth” either. It appears that the worst case scenario is I find out that it does not work for me.
If any of you were involved in the trial and were taking Dutasteride, I would be interested in your thoughts on the subject. Did you have any side effects? Did you notice any benefit? Are you still taking dutasteride today?