According to a new study, gay men who take bicalutamide for prostate cancer are more likely to report adverse effects issues during treatment than straight men.
The Romanian/U.S. study, which appears in the July issue of the urology journal BJUI, followed 29 men -- 17 heterosexual, 12 homosexual -- who received 50 milligrams of the nonsteroidal anti-androgen drug once daily for five weeks.
Since the drug is known to affect the male hormones that stimulate the growth of cancer cells, patients were asked to compare various aspects of their sexual functioning -- such as overall desire and their ability to produce and maintain an erection -- before they started treatment and at the five-week mark.
The gay men studied reported more than a 50% decrease in sexual performance and satisfaction in four of the six categories examined, while their straight counterparts reported fewer problems and more satisfaction with intercourse.
"The results of our study suggest that androgens play a role in cerebral sexual processes such as libido, sexual arousal, and orgasm and that this response may be different in heterosexual and homosexual men," said the study's coauthor, David L Rowland, as quoted by the Toronto Sun. "However, it is important that we do not underestimate the effect that androgens can have on heterosexual men just because the effect on homosexual men appears to be greater."