A new study from George Washington University revealed that loss of libido may be a side effect of the popular male pattern baldness drug finasteride, marketed as PROPECIA and Proscar. GWU studied 71 men, ages 21-46, and found that loss of sex drive lingered for many even after they stopped taking finasteride. Of the men studied:
- 94% said they developed low sexual desire
- 92% said they developed erectile dysfunction
- 92% said they developed decreased arousal
- 69% said they developed problems with orgasm
“The study looked at the reported types and duration of persistent sexual side effects in otherwise healthy men who took finasteride for male pattern hair loss,” said Dr. Michael Irwig, Assistant Professor of Medicine, reported GWU.
“While finasteride has been associated with reversible adverse sexual side effects in multiple randomized placebo controlled trials, this is the first series to find that symptoms persisted for at least three months despite stopping finasteride.”
In addition to loss of sex drive, some are reporting a decline in mental and emotional state. Merk, maker of PROPECIA, does list possible side effects as issues with erection, semen production and libido. However, the company believes the product is still safe to use.
“Merck believes that PROPECIA (finasteride) has demonstrated safety and efficacy profiles and that the product labeling appropriately describes the benefits and risks of the drug to help inform prescribing.”
Merk also lists that PROPECIA can affect a PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) blood test for the screening of prostate cancer. The company recommends that you alert your health care professional if you are taking PROPECIA and having a PSA test because the drug may cause decreased levels of PSA.
If you are thinking of starting finasteride, or already taking the drug, talk to your health care professional about the potential side effects or interactions with other drugs you are taking.
Image: Suat Eman