Abstracts from February 2013 PFS Roundtable Research Discussion in Italy

SOMERSET, N.J., March 25, 2013 – The roundtable discussion at the 7th international steroids and nervous system meeting in Orbassano (TO), Italy, February 16th – 20th 2013, included scientific presentations and discussions amongst multiple medical researchers regarding the Post-Finasteride Syndrome.

This event was a great opportunity for the PFS Foundation to increase awareness of PFS amongst the participating scientists, and for scientists to exchange information regarding Finasteride persistent adverse reactions.

A particular highlight included a presentation by Prof. Roberto Melcangi, who revealed initial results from his study of the effect of the Post-Finasteride Syndrome on neuroactive steroid levels in a subset of PFS patients. As noted in the following conference abstracts (pg. 96/97) the data obtained showed significant changes in the neuroactive steroid patten present in cerebrospinal fluid and plasma of three post-finasteride patients:

… A possible hypothesis to explain depression symptoms after finasteride treatment might be impairment in the levels of neuroactive steroids [9].

To this aim, neuroactive steroids levels were evaluated in paired plasma and CSF samples obtained from 3 male patients who received finasteride for the treatment of androgenic alopecia and that after drug discontinuation still show long-term sexual side effects as well as anxious/depressive symptomatology.

Data obtained by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry show a general decrease of neuroactive steroid levels, and particularly of 5α-reduced metabolites of PROG and T in CSF and plasma of post-finasteride patients.

The present results confirm that an impairment of neuroactive steroid levels, associated to depression symptoms, is present in androgenic alopecia patients despite the discontinuation of the finasteride treatment.”


These results may plausibly explain the depressive symptoms commonly found in PFS patients, and are of great concern. Nonetheless, in the abstract on pg. 97 by Bortolato M. (et al.), the authors note they are investigating novel therapeutic approaches to counter finasteride-induced depressive effects, which is of particular interest:

…In the quest to shed light on the mechanisms of finasteride, we have studied the proteomic effects of acute and prolonged administration of this drug in the brain of male rats.

The results of these studies point to changes in a number of key proteins implicated in steroidogenic metabolism, synaptic plasticity and GABAergic neurotransmission.

Based on these and other results, we are currently testing a number of novel therapeutic approaches to counter finasteride-induced depressive effects and explain its antidopaminergic actions.”

The Post-Finasteride Syndrome Foundation is dedicated to helping fund research into the characterization, underlying biologic mechanisms and treatments of the post-finasteride syndrome (PFS), by working with those in the medical, scientific and research communities.

We would like to thank all attendees of the event for their time, dedication and commitment towards helping achieve these goals, and look forward to further collaboration on these and other research initiatives into PFS in the future.

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