The hair growth drug named Propecia (generically finasteride) has been found to cause sexual dysfunction and severe depression, even after its use has been abandoned. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent out an order to label it with these side-effects, but new research suggests that the associated depression is worse than originally thought.
While a specific count of men who suffer from decreased libido and erectile dysfunction, along with the lasting length of the effects, are unknown, a study by an endocrinologist at George Washington University sought to determine just how severe the linked depression was.
Dr Michael Irwig gathered 61 former Propecia users who experienced a 3-month minimum of sexual side-effects and compared them with healthy balding men who neither tried the drug nor exhibited psychiatric symptoms. The mean age of Propecia patients was 31, while those in the control group were 26. The average treatment length was 27 months for Propecia patients.
The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, reveal that moderate to severe depressive symptoms were seen in 64% of Propecia patients, while no one in the control group had them. As many as 44% of Propecia patients also had suicidal tendencies, compared to 3% of control group patients.
Finasteride can breach the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and has been discovered to disturb gamma-aminobutyric acid neurotransmitter system activity, known to trigger anxiety and depression.
Dr Irwig says the possible issues with Propecia should be made aware to everyone, especially since it’s being used to boost appearance and confidence.