Androcur drug: eight brain tumors are discovered after 10 years of treatment

A 53-year-old Albian biologist pharmacist tells how her life changed after taking Androcur for 10 years to treat ovarian cysts.

"Do you take Androcur?" Yes. "Stop immediately." The Dispatch this Monday, the story of Catherine Gayrard, a 53-year-old Albian biologist pharmacist, who saw her life swing after taking Androcur for 10 years to treat ovarian cysts.

Prescribed to thousands of women since the 1980s as a contraceptive or acne treatment by Bayer laboratories, this progestogen is today accused of greatly increase the risk of meningioma, a brain tumor usually mild but can cause serious sequelae such as memory problems, epilepsy, or loss of taste and smell. Belonging to the class of steroidal antiandrogens, Androcur is also used to treat advanced prostate cancer and hirsutism in women, an extreme development of hair growth.

Eight brain tumors discovered

As she was walking on foot, Catherine Gayrard said that she suddenly started running. "I lost control of my legs, with speech disorders." She had just had a cerebral edema. The 50-year-old wakes up two days later at the hospital, her neurosurgeon questions her: "Do you take Androcur?" Yes. "Stop immediately." During examinations, doctors discovered eight brain tumors, three of which were the size of a ping pong ball.

One of them is withdrawn three weeks later, but Catherine Gayrard lives for a year and a half with seven meningiomas. Since she stopped taking Androcur however, their sizes have not changed. "During my MRI last April, there was no change, which supports me in the assumption that the Androcur is responsible for what happened to me." Today, she suffers from tinnitus, memory problems, concentration and chronic fatigue. Catherine Gayrard no longer travels, no longer drives: "When I come home from work, most of the time I go straight to bed, my life has completely changed."

Androcur increases the risk of meningioma by 7 to 20

Prescribed to 80% of women (57 000 in 2017, according to the Health Insurance), Androcur is indeed suspected of increasing the risk of meningioma by 7 to 20 depending on the duration of treatment. On its website, the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) recognizes that since 2009, "cyproterone acetate is subject to special surveillance following the signal issued by France at European level on the risk of d Meningioma The evaluation of this signal by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) led to the inclusion of this risk in the drug leaflet in 2011 ".

A toll-free number has been set up and is available from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7 pm: 805 040 110. Health Minister Agnès Buzyn recommended that Androcur-treated patients get as close as possible to their general practitioner .

For its part, the ANSM created in June "a temporary specialized scientific committee (CSST) which aims to discuss the conditions of use and prescription of these drugs to limit this risk". New recommendations developed with health professionals should be issued "by the end of the year".

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