Researchers believe that cancer drug could rid men of ‘unwanted’ sexual urges towards children
Researchers in Sweden have started a clinical trial to assess whether a prostate cancer drug could help prevent or lower the risk of paedophiles committing sexual abuse.
The £1,000 a year drug called degarelix was found to have the side effect of reducing sexual arousal by stopping the production of testosterone
The drugs trial at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet will involve 60 patients have sought help for paedophile fantasies, but have not acted on them.
Psychiatrist and lead researcher Christoffer Rahm said: “The goal is to establish a preventive treatment program for men with pedophiliac disorder that is both effective and tolerable so that we can prevent child sexual abuse from happening in the first place“
One of the people looking for help from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is Anders. Using a pseudonym while talking to AFP, he said that he has never sexually abused a child, though he does have urges and his sexual fantasies are “not normal.”
The researchers at the institute want to give patients like Anders a drug that is normally used to treat those suffering from prostate cancer. A total of 60 people will take part in the trial, with half given the Degarelix drug, and the rest a placebo.
“What we introduce with this study is a way of shifting perspective from being reactive to proactive,” Rahm said.
It is hoped that the Degarelix drug will help reduce levels of testosterone in the patients. The researchers believe the drug to be so potent that the subjects will not have any detectable levels of testosterone after three days.
“Testosterone is involved in several of the most important risk factors for committing child sex abuse, including high sexual arousal, diminished self-control and low empathy,” Rahm said.
Anders says he doesn’t know whether he has been given the placebo or the Degarelix drug and will find out only in two to three years, when the study is completed.
“I have noticed that my sex drive has been sinking lately, but I don’t know if it’s attributable to the medicine,” Anders says.
Last month, a group of Swedish scientists used a crowdfunding website to try to raise money to chemically castrate non-convicted pedophiles who feel they can’t control their sexual urges.
Rahm was also the lead researcher of the Priotab scheme and, similar to his current project, he wants to try to prevent abuse before it occurs.
“Up until now most of the attention has been on how to deal with perpetrators while they’re protected by the police or by the authorities, but by this stage children have already been harmed,” he said.
“With this research project, I want to shift focus and explore methods of preventing child sexual abuse from happening in the first place.”