People who are born male naturally have a higher concentration of androgens.
For different reasons, drugs that can reduce the effects of this hormone may be needed.
Antiandrogens are examples of these drugs, as they can reduce free testosterone in the blood.
Read on to find out how they work and their side effects, uses, and contraindications.
What are antiandrogens?
Antiandrogens are hormones capable of regulating the male sex hormone: testosterone.
Antiandrogens are used in conjunction with other medications as a cancer treatment to reduce the effects of masculinization in transgender people and after certain types of operations.
The basis of how antiandrogens work is the binding of protein receptors called androgen receptors. By binding, they block the effects of the male hormone. Ultimately this makes them drugs capable of lowering free testosterone levels in the blood.
Uses of antiandrogens by gender
The uses of antiandrogens can be classified according to gender as follows:
Uses in men
One of the primary uses for androgens in men is as a prostate cancer drug. Androgens stimulate the growth of cancer cells, and lowering testosterone is a strategy used by doctors to reduce the growth of tumors in the prostate.
To this end, they are generally combined with other medications. They cannot eliminate testosterone in the blood but partially isolate it.
Uses in women
Androgens are drugs capable of preventing the potential problems of excess testosterone in the blood. Some studies suggest that they are effective as a treatment to improve fertility, diabetes, cholesterol, and prevention of heart disease.
While women tend to have low levels of androgens in their blood, some have more. This can cause mild ovulation disorders, excessive hair growth, and acne.
Uses in transgender people
Antiandrogens can decrease the effects of testosterone. So one of its most frequent uses is as a treatment to block the development of masculine characteristics.
The use of antiandrogens as a hormonal treatment for people in gender transition is often combined with medications such as estrogens. The anti-androgen-estrogen combination can block hair growth, baldness development, and breast growth.
Examples of antiandrogens
Examples of the most commonly used antiandrogens are:
- Cyproterone acetate
Spironolactone and Cyproterone are the most used treatments for acne and excess hair growth. Due to its low interaction with other drugs, flutamide is used to treat prostate cancer in men.
Side effects of anti-androgens
The side effects of antiandrogens depend on the type of medicine used and the combination with other drugs. The most frequent are:
- Low sex drive
- Liver disorders (hepatitis)
- Less growth of facial and body hair
- Increased likelihood of conditions in the fetus
- Erectile dysfunction
- Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
- Ovulation and irregular menstruation
- Skin rash.
Antiandrogens vs. anabolic steroids
Both drugs are regulated in most countries and must be taken under prescription and medical authorization.
Misuse of both antiandrogens and anabolic steroids can wreak havoc on the body. Self-medicating with these types of medications can enhance their side effects.
Antiandrogens are drugs used as a treatment to lower testosterone.
Its uses in medicine as a treatment for prostate cancer, improving female fertility, and reducing the effects of masculinization of testosterone in people in gender transition.
Its side effects include low sex drive, liver disorders, and skin rashes. Antiandrogens should always be taken under the authorization of a medical professional.