PROPECIAHELP: Persistent Finasteride Propecia Proscar side effects info & forum

Info and forum for men with PERSISTENT sexual, mental and physical side effects which CONTINUE DESPITE QUITTING hair loss & prostate drug Finasteride Propecia, Proscar

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Studies & Research

Published Studies on Persistent Finasteride Side Effects


June 7, 2013

Decreased Alcohol Consumption Among Former Male Users of Finasteride with Persistent Sexual Side Effects: A Preliminary Report

Irwig MS
doi: 10.1111/acer.12177





There is a robust literature in rodents, but not in humans, on the interaction between finasteride and alcohol, particularly as it relates to neurosteroids. Finasteride has been shown to reduce alcohol intake and suppress alcohol preference in male mice. This study examines the role of finasteride in alcohol consumption in humans with male pattern hair loss.



The subjects were 83 otherwise healthy men who developed persistent sexual side effects associated with finasteride, despite the cessation of this medication for at least 3 months. Information from standardized interviews was collected regarding medical histories, sexual function, and alcohol consumption before and after finasteride use.



Of the 63 men who consumed at least 1 alcoholic beverage/wk prior to starting finasteride, 41 (65%) noted a decrease in their alcohol consumption after stopping finasteride. This reduction typically began before discontinuing finasteride. Twenty men (32%) reported no change in their alcohol consumption, and 2 men (3%) reported an increase in their alcohol consumption. For the 63 consumers of alcohol, the mean number (±SE) of alcoholic beverages/wk declined from 5.2 ± 0.7 before finasteride to 2.0 ± 0.3 after finasteride (p < 0.0001). A major study limitation is the lack of a comparison group.



In former male users of finasteride who developed persistent sexual side effects, 65% noticed a decline in their alcohol consumption as compared to baseline. This finding is consistent with finasteride's ability to modulate alcohol intake in rodents. Further research is needed on the central nervous system effects of finasteride in humans.



August 7, 2012

Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Thoughts Among Former Users of Finasteride With Persistent Sexual Side Effects

Irwig MS
J Clin Psychiatry 2012;73(9):1220-1223


Objective: Finasteride, a commonly prescribed medication for male pattern hair loss, has recently been associated with persistent sexual side effects. In addition, depression has recently been added to the product labeling of Propecia (finasteride 1 mg). Finasteride reduces the levels of several neuroactive steroids linked to sexual function and depression. This study assesses depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts in former users of finasteride who developed persistent sexual side effects despite the discontinuation of finasteride.

Method: In 2010–2011, former users of finasteride (n = 61) with persistent sexual side effects for ≥ 3 months were administered standardized interviews that gathered demographic information, medical and psychiatric histories, and information on medication use, sexual function, and alcohol consumption. All former users were otherwise healthy men with no baseline sexual dysfunction, chronic medical conditions, current or past psychiatric conditions, or use of oral prescription medications before or during finasteride use. A control group of men (n = 29), recruited from the community, had male pattern hair loss but had never used finasteride and denied any history of psychiatric conditions or use of psychiatric medications. The primary outcomes were the prevalence of depressive symptoms and the prevalence of suicidal thoughts as determined by the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II); all subjects self-administered this questionnaire at the time of the interview or up to 10 months later.

Results: Rates of depressive symptoms (BDI-II score ≥ 14) were significantly higher in the former finasteride users (75%; 46/61) as compared to the controls (10%; 3/29) (P < .0001). Moderate or severe depressive symptoms (BDI-II score ≥ 20) were present in 64% (39/61) of the finasteride group and 0% of the controls. Suicidal thoughts were present in 44% (27/61) of the former finasteride users and in 3% (1/29) of the controls (P < .0001).

Conclusions: Clinicians and potential users of finasteride should be aware of the potential risk of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. The preliminary findings of this study warrant further research with controlled studies.


July 12, 2012

Persistent Sexual Side Effects of Finasteride: Could They Be Permanent?

Irwig MS
J Sex Med 2012;9:2927–2932.


Introduction. Finasteride has been associated with sexual side effects that may persist despite discontinuation of the medication. In a clinical series, 20% of subjects with male pattern hair loss reported persistent sexual dysfunction for ≥6 years, suggesting the possibility that the dysfunction may be permanent. These subjects also reported a wide range of symptoms including changes in cognition, ejaculate quality, and genital sensation. Other medications have been associated with irreversible neurological effects, such as phenothiazines with tardive dyskinesias.

Aim. To prospectively study whether the persistent sexual side effects associated with finasteride resolve or endure over time.

Methods. Subjects (N = 54) with persistent sexual side effects associated with finasteride were reassessed after 9–16 months (mean 14 months). All subjects were otherwise healthy young men without any baseline sexual dysfunction, medical conditions, psychiatric conditions, or use of oral prescription medications prior to taking finasteride for male pattern hair loss.

Main Outcome Measure. Scores from the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX).

Results. The participation rate was 81%. At reassessment persistent sexual side effects continued to be present in 96% of subjects. According to the ASEX scores, 89% of subjects met the definition of sexual dysfunction. Neither the length of finasteride use nor the duration of the sexual side effects correlated to changes in scores of sexual dysfunction.

Conclusion. In most men who developed persistent sexual side effects (≥3 months) despite the discontinuation of finasteride, the sexual dysfunction continued for many months or years. Although several rat studies have shown detrimental changes to erectile function caused by 5 alpha reductase inhibitors, the persistent nature of these changes is an area of active research. Prescribers of finasteride and men contemplating its use should be made aware of the potential adverse medication effects.


March 16, 2011

Persistent Sexual Side Effects of Finasteride for Male Pattern Hair Loss

Irwig MS and Kolukula S
J Sex Med 2011;8:1747–1753.


Introduction. Finasteride has been associated with reversible adverse sexual side effects in multiple randomized, controlled trials for the treatment of male pattern hair loss (MPHL). The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency of the United Kingdom and the Swedish Medical Products Agency have both updated their patient information leaflets to include a statement that “persistence of erectile dysfunction after discontinuation of treatment with Propecia has been reported in post-marketing use.”

Aim. We sought to characterize the types and duration of persistent sexual side effects in otherwise healthy men who took finasteride for MPHL.

Methods. We conducted standardized interviews with 71 otherwise healthy men aged 21–46 years who reported the new onset of sexual side effects associated with the temporal use of finasteride, in which the symptoms persisted for at least 3 months despite the discontinuation of finasteride.

Main Outcome Measures.  The types and duration of sexual dysfunction and the changes in perceived sexual frequency and sexual dysfunction score between pre- and post-finasteride use.

Results.  Subjects reported new-onset persistent sexual dysfunction associated with the use of finasteride: 94% developed low libido, 92% developed erectile dysfunction, 92% developed decreased arousal, and 69% developed problems with orgasm. The mean number of sexual episodes per month dropped and the total sexual dysfunction score increased for before and after finasteride use according to the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (P < 0.0001 for both). The mean duration of finasteride use was 28 months and the mean duration of persistent sexual side effects was 40 months from the time of finasteride cessation to the interview date. Study limitations include a post hoc approach, selection bias, recall bias for before finasteride data, and no serum hormone levels.

Physicians treating MPHL should discuss the potential risk of persistent sexual side effects associated with finasteride.



December 22, 2010

Adverse Side Effects of 5α-Reductase Inhibitors Therapy: Persistent Diminished Libido and Erectile Dysfunction and Depression in a Subset of Patients

Traish AM, Hassani J, Guay AT, Zitzmann M, and Hansen M.
J Sex Med 2011;8:872–844.


Introduction. 5α-reductase inhibitors (5α-RIs), finasteride and dutasteride, have been approved for treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms, due to benign prostatic hyperplasia, with marked clinical efficacy. Finasteride is also approved for treatment of hair loss (androgenetic alopecia). Although the adverse side effects of these agents are thought to be minimal, the magnitude of adverse effects on sexual function, gynecomastia, depression, and quality of life remains ill-defined.

Aim. The goal of this review is to discuss 5α-RIs therapy, the potential persistent side effects, and the possible mechanisms responsible for these undesirable effects.

Methods. We examined data reported in various clinical studies from the available literature concerning the side effects of finasteride and dutasteride.

Main Outcome Measures. Data reported in the literature were reviewed and discussed.

Results.  Prolonged adverse effects on sexual function such as erectile dysfunction and diminished libido are reported by a subset of men, raising the possibility of a causal relationship.

Conclusions. We suggest discussion with patients on the potential sexual side effects of 5α-RIs before commencing therapy. Alternative therapies may be considered in the discussion, especially when treating androgenetic alopecia.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 July 2013 22:50  

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