The disseminated intravascular coagulation syndrome is an untoward side effect of metastatic adenocarcinoma of the prostate. In addition to appropriate replacement of blood, platelets and clotting factors, prompt treatment of the prostatic carcinoma is required to correct the underlying pathophysiological defect. Ketoconazole is the ideal method for hormonal manipulation for patients with life-threatening complications of prostatic carcinoma (disseminated intravascular coagulation and acute paraparesis/paraplegia) because of its prompt onset of action in decreasing circulating concentrations of androgens to castrate levels. Serum testosterone levels are castrate within 48 hours of the initiation of therapy with ketoconazole as opposed to a minimum of 10 to 14 days with estrogens. A patient with spontaneous bleeding from disseminated intravascular coagulation was treated with 400 mg. ketoconazole every 8 hours and bleeding stopped within 48 hours. Ketoconazole is particularly valuable when a prompt therapeutic response is needed and orchiectomy is contraindicated because of bleeding diathesis (as in dissseminated intravascular coagulation), delay in histological confirmation (as in acute paraparesis/paraplegia) or patient reluctance to undergo castration.
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