If you have advanced prostate cancer, your healthcare provider may prescribe Firmagon. This medicine works by decreasing testosterone levels in men; this helps slow down the growth rate of prostate cancer cells, which need testosterone to grow and multiply. In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend using Firmagon for treating infertility in women; however, this is not an approved use of the drug.
What Is Firmagon Used For?Firmagon® (degarelix) is a prescription medication approved to treat advanced prostate cancer. It is a long-acting medicine that is injected just beneath the skin (subcutaneously) once a month. It belongs to a group of medications known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists.
The prostate is a small gland found below the bladder in men. This gland produces the fluid that surrounds and carries the sperm in the semen. Prostate cancer occurs when cancer cells begin to grow in the prostate gland. The growing cells form an abnormal mass of tissue called a tumor.
Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer, compared with most other cancers. Cell changes may begin 10, 20, or 30 years before a tumor is big enough to cause symptoms. Eventually, however, the prostate cancer becomes more advanced, and can spread to the surrounding tissue or other areas of the body.
In the early stages, prostate cancer may not cause any symptoms at all. As it advances, symptoms are more likely to occur. Some of these symptoms may include:
- Problems urinating, such as a weak flow, an inability to urinate, or the need to urinate more often
- Problems with sexual function, such as problems having or keeping an erection or painful ejaculation
- Pain in the back, hips, or upper thighs.
Treatment for prostate cancer will vary, depending on whether the cancer is still confined to the prostate or is metastatic (has advanced to other areas of the body). A man's overall health and his individual goals and desires for treatment will also be taken into account.
Once prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate, treatments such as Firmagon may be given to slow down the cancer growth and reduce cancer symptoms. Currently, no prostate cancer treatment can cure metastatic prostate cancer.