Do you take Propecia or Proscar (Finasteride)?
For those who are not familiar with these, they are drugs used to treat male pattern baldness (hair loss) and an enlarged prostate.
Finasteride is a 5α-reductase inhibitor and therefore inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In adults, DHT acts as primary androgen in prostate and hair follicles.
In other words, Finasteride alters your testosterone level and balance.
I totally understand that dealing with baldness is not fun, and therefore why taking a drug to combat this may be appealing.
However, these drug come with some potentially awful side effects.
However, a new research study just came out and what it found was not good.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analysed 3,282 users of Finasteride, and later published their findings in JAMA Dermatology.
What did the study find?
It found that men using Finasteride had a 4 times higher chance of experiencing depression and anxiety.
But even worse:
It also found that men on Finasteride had 63% higher odds of experiencing serious thoughts about taking one’s own life, suicide plans and suicide attempts.
In addition, it found that patients 45 years of age and younger were more likely to experience these suicidal side effects, compared with users over the age of 45.
Why does Finasteride cause these side effects?
The researches offered a plausible explanation:
Finasteride reduces the enzyme called 5α-reductase. This enzyme in turn produces a neurosteroid called allopregnanolone. This in turn has antidepressant and anxiolytic effects.
So this may be where the link sits.
What is my takeaway from this new study?
The same as always:
Unless a drug is life-saving or absolutely necessary, I stay away. Drugs generally don’t fix the problem, they only treat the problem for as long as you take the drug, whether it’s for ED or hair loss. Hence, you may have to keep taking the drug forever.
They also often come with bad side effects. And lastly, in many cases (but not all), it is possible to overcome the problem with natural means.
To read the full article, please go here.