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MERCK'S PROSCAR BEING STUDIED IN VETERAN'S AFFAIRS TREATMENT TRIAL FOR SYMPTOMATIC BENIGN PROSTATE ENLARGEMENT

 WEST POINT, Pa., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck & Co. Inc.'s (NYSE: MRK) new drug Proscar (finasteride) is one of two drug therapies being evaluated in a nationwide Department of Veterans Affairs study on symptomatic benign prostate enlargement.
 The one-year study, which started last month, is evaluating the therapeutic benefits of Proscar and an Abbott Laboratories' drug, terazosin, in 1,200 men at about 30 VA medical centers. Terazosin is an investigational therapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia.
 Participants in the double-blind, controlled study will be treated with one of four therapies: Proscar, terazosin, Proscar plus terazosin, or placebo. Merck, Abbott and the VA's Medical Research Service are funding the study.
 Benign prostate enlargement can be a progressive disease and is associated with urinary problems in more than half of all men aged 50 and over in the United States.
 Proscar is the only drug indicated for the treatment of symptomatic benign prostate enlargement. Introduced in the United States last July, it is the first of a new class of drugs -- called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors -- for treating the disease. Proscar acts on a major underlying cause of symptomatic benign prostate enlargement by lowering levels of a key hormone -- dihydrotestosterone (DHT) -- that spurs gland growth.
 "The VA study will be our first opportunity to provide valuable data for defining the roles of these very different medical treatments for symptomatic benign prostate enlargement, because studies of these agents have not been done in the same way before," said Glenn Gormley, M.D., Ph.D., director of clinical research for Merck.
 As men age, benign prostate enlargement can slowly progress; over time, the enlarging gland gradually squeezes the urinary tube, interfering with or possibly blocking urine flow. Many men who experience symptoms, such as a weak urinary stream, frequent urination, or difficulty in starting urination, wrongly accept their symptoms as an unavoidable part of aging.
 Treatment with Proscar leads to shrinkage of the enlarged prostate gland in most men. Some patients additionally experience increases in urine flow and an improvement in symptoms.
 In 12-month, controlled clinical trials, patients treated with Proscar had progressive decreases in prostate size, increasing maximum urine flow rates and improvement in symptoms associated with benign prostate enlargement, suggesting an arrest in the disease process. While controlled clinical data beyond 12 months are not available, these improvements have persisted in approximately 300 patients who have completed two years on Proscar in uncontrolled extensions of these studies.
 Long-term effects of Proscar on the incidence of surgery and acute urinary obstruction or other complications of benign prostate enlargement are yet to be determined in ongoing clinical studies.
 The VA's Cooperative Studies Coordinating Center at the Perry Point, Md., VA Medical Center will coordinate the study. Herbert Lepor, M.D., of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, will direct the study.
 Proscar is the Merck registered trademark for finasteride.
 NOTE: To obtain the full prescribing information for Proscar, call
 215-652-6681 to request a fax copy, or see page 1597 of the
 Physician's Desk Reference for 1993 (47th Edition).
 VETERAN'S ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTERS PARTICIPATING
 IN COOPERATIVE STUDY
 Rene Frontera, M.D. Gary J. Faerber, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology Chief, Urology Section
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 Allen Park, MI 48101 2215 Fuller Road
 Media Contact: Ann Arbor, MI 48105
 Julia Brooks-Covington Media Contact:
 313-562-6000 x3340 Cindy Lees
 313-769-7100 x7026
 Michael Naslund, M.D. Perry P. Hudson, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology Chief, Urology Section
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 3900 Loch Raven Blvd. Bay Pines, FL 33504
 Baltimore, MD 21218 Media Contact:
 Media Contact: Samuel J. Walsh
 Dave Edwards 813-398-6661 x5779
 410-467-9932 x5451
 Donald Urban, M.D. John B. Graham, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology Chief, Urology Section
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 700 S. 19th St. 333 E. Huron St.
 Birmingham, AL 35233 Chicago, IL 60611
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 Jeffrey Hester Hal Rhein
 205-933-8101 x6521 312-943-6600 x571
 Patrick O'Donnell, M.D. Steven Weinstein, M.D.
 Chief, Urology Section Dept. of Urology
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 3200 Vine St. 800 Hospital Drive
 Cincinnati, OH 45220 Columbia, MO 65202
 Media Contact: Medical Contact:
 William Moore Stephen Gaither
 513-559-5028 314-443-2511 x6012
 E. David Crawford, M.D. Mitchell Bamberger, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology Dept. of Urology
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 1055 Clemont St. Tremont & S. Center St.
 Denver, CO 80220 East Orange, NJ 07019
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 Deborah Thompson Julia Portale
 303-393-2801 201-676-1000 x1856
 Christopher P. Steidle, M.D. Howard B. Epstein, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology Chief, Urology Section
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 2121 Lake Ave. 1601 SW Archer Rd.
 Fort Wayne, IN 46805 Gainesville, FL 32608
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 Sheila Hamilton-Taylor Nancy Reissener
 219-460-1435 904-374-1611
 John S. Wheeler, M.D. Dov Kadmon, M.D.
 VA Medical Center Chief, Urology Section
 Edward Hines Jr. Hospital VA Medical Center
 Hines, IL 60141 Houston, TX 77211
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 Pamela Surges Michael Bible
 708-343-7200 x2716 713-791-1414 x5575
 Richard S. Foster, M.D. Timothy Moon, M.D.
 Richard L. Roudenbush Dept. of Urology
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 1481 W. 10th Street 2500 Overlook Terrace
 Indianapolis, IN 46204 Madison, WI 53705
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 John Henneman Scott K. Krueger
 317-267-8734 608-256-1901 x7030
 Anthony Lynn Patterson, M.D. Norman Block, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology Dept. of Urology
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 1030 Jefferson Ave. 1201 NW 16th St.
 Memphis, TN 38104 Miami, FL 33725
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 Pam Roberts Susan E. Ward
 901-523-8990 x7441 305-324-3140
 Christopher Dixon, M.D. Pratap Reddy, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology Dept. of Urology
 Clemont J. Zablocki VA Medical Center
 VA Medical Center One Veterans Drive
 5000 W. National Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55417
 Milwaukee, WI 53295 Media Contact:
 Media Contact: Linda Duffy
 John Zewiske 612-725-2102
 414-384-2000 x5299
 Raju Thomas, M.D., F.A.C.S. William L. Parry, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology Dept. of Urology
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 1601 Perdido St. 921 NE 13th St.
 New Orleans, LA 70146 Oklahoma City, OK 73104
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 Eileen Angelico Thomas Kiddoo
 504-589-5218 405-270-5105
 Keith Van Arsdalen, M.D. Perinchery Narayan, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology Dept. of Urology
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 University & Woodland Ave. 4150 Clement Ave.
 Philadelphia, PA 19104 San Francisco, CA 94121
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 Don Gee Leslie Buchman
 215-823-5800 x5907 415-221-4810 x2330
 Michael Brawer, M.D. Daniel J. Culkin, M.D.
 Surgical Service (112 UR) Dept. of Urology
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 1660 S. Columbian Way 510 E. Stoner Ave.
 Seattle, WA 98108 Shreveport, LA 71130
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 Steve Lye Jim Adams
 206-764-2195 318-424-6150
 Harris Foster, M.D. Brent Treiger
 Dept. of Urology Dept of Urology
 VA Medical Center VA Medical Center
 950 Campbell Ave. Wadsworth Division
 West Haven, CT 06516 West Los Angeles, CA 90073
 Media Contact: Media Contact:
 Louise Fitzsimons Kathrene Hansen
 203-932-5711 x3311 310-824-3295
 Stephen N. Rous, M.D.
 Dept. of Urology
 VA Medical Center
 White River Junction, VT 05001
 Media Contact:
 Julie Baker
 802-295-9363 x5390
 -0- 1/12/93
 /CONTACT: Jan D. Weiner or Cathy N. Kernen of Merck & Co., 215-652-6681/
 (MRK)


CO: Merck & Co. Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:

PS -- NY086 -- 3997 01/12/93 12:07 EST
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Date:Jan 12, 1993
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