A growing number of doctors, researchers and therapists have in recent years been voicing their concerns about finasteride’s potential to cause persistent physical and mental side effects, known as post-finasteride syndrome (PFS), in a subset of patients. To date, the PFS Foundation has identified 113 such professionals who have published scientific findings and/or voiced opinions on causative links between finasteride and PFS. Some of these same doctors and researchers are also members of our Medical Professionals team, counseling PFS patients and their loved ones worldwide.
If you know of additional doctors, researchers and/or therapists who have published warnings of persistent side effects stemming from finasteride use, and/or if you would like to suggest adding a medical professional to our Medical Professionals list, please email pertinent links/names to email@example.com.
Men under the age of 40 who use finasteride for alopecia are at risk for suicide if they develop persistent sexual adverse effects and insomnia.
An important pattern of symptoms was common among all cases who committed suicide in the setting of finasteride use: insomnia and persistent sexual dysfunction after medication discontinuation. Insomnia and fatigue/tiredness were some of the most debilitating symptoms… Men under 40 years of age who use finasteride for alopecia are at risk of suicide if they develop persistent sexual adverse effects and insomnia.
—Finasteride and Suicide: A Postmarketing Case Series: Dermatology, January 14, 2020
Two subjects—eight percent—committed suicide during or after the study.
While the sexual side effects of 5ARIs are well known, there may be persistent genitourinary, physical, psycho-cognitive, anti-androgenic and penile vascular changes after 5ARI discontinuation. Use of 5ARIs for treatment of AGA may lead to persistent sexual, genitourinary, physical, psycho-cognitive, and anti-androgenic sequelae even after cessation of 5ARI therapy… Two subjects (8%) committed suicide during or after the study.
—Penile vascular abnormalities in young men with persistent side effects after finasteride use for the treatment of androgenic alopecia: Translational Andrology and Urology, April 2020
[PFS] is clearly a problem that is important to the general public.
Much of the medical community has yet to recognize [PFS] as a real clinical entity. Our… analysis indicates that, nonetheless, [PFS] is clearly a problem that is important to the general public that warrants intervention. Thus, it is inappropriate to dismiss this condition.
—Global online interest in finasteride sexual side effects, International Journal of Impotence Research: September 13, 2022
Seems that almost half of urologists instruct their patients to stop finasteride!
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for a poll! In evaluating fertility, how do you counsel men taking finasteride for hair loss?… Results are up! Seems that almost half of urologists instruct their patients to stop finasteride!
● Stop finasteride: 45.6%
● OK to keep taking: 17.5%
● It depends: 36.8%
—Society for the Study of Male Reproduction (via Twitter): October 11, 2022
Sobering [New York Post] story on Propecia users experiencing…suicidal thoughts after using the drug.
Sobering @nypost story on Propecia users experiencing memory loss, ED, suicidal thoughts after using the drug; illustrates the challenge in postmarket Rx safety surveillance and in getting good evidence on [adverse events] from [Randomized controlled trials] [on hormone therapy]
—Referring, via Twitter, to Propecia users claim drug causes memory loss, ED, suicidal thoughts: August 31, 2022
Health care professionals should…conduct a full evaluation and a…risk-benefit assessment for patients before each prescription of finasteride.
As prescribers, our primary duty is to do no harm. Health care professionals should keep themselves abreast of these potential signals and, accordingly, conduct a full evaluation and a detailed, personalized risk-benefit assessment for patients before each prescription of finasteride.
—Ongoing Concerns Regarding Finasteride for the Treatment of Male-Pattern Androgenetic Alopecia: JAMA Dermatology, November 2020
This drug for young men must be taken off the market.
As of 2018, 15,000 cases of adverse reactions to finasteride were reported to the WHO—which is a huge number to begin with. And the interesting thing is that the average age of this group was 32 to 34 years old… This drug for young men must be taken off the market.
—Documentary on German network NDR titled Side Effects of Finasteride Are Underestimated: January 25, 2021
Damn near over the counter.
Damn near over the counter, via [H]ims.
—Referring, via Twitter, to Propecia users claim drug causes memory loss, ED, suicidal thoughts: August 31, 2022
FDA is concerned that use of finasteride by pediatric patients may pose long-term safety risks.
Finasteride inhibits Type II 5(alpha)-reductase, which metabolizes testosterone to the potent androgen 5(alpha)-dihydrotestosterone. FDA is concerned that use of finasteride by pediatric patients may pose long-term safety risks regarding growth, development and sexual function.
—FDA response to Merck & Co.’s citizen petition requesting that finasteride be added to the List of Approved Drugs for Which Additional Pediatric Information May Produce Health Benefits in the Pediatric Population: May 2000
A greatly under-recognised and often devastating condition.
A greatly under-recognised and often devastating condition: “Diagnostic criteria for enduring sexual dysfunction after treatment with antidepressants, finasteride and isotretinoin.”
—Referring, via Twitter, to Diagnostic criteria for enduring sexual dysfunction after treatment with antidepressants, finasteride and isotretinoin: Sept. 7, 2022
Of [the FDA’s] 20 medications…with the highest frequency of ED adverse event reports…finasteride and dutasteride had the highest Proportional Reporting Ratios.
The Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) was queried to identify medications with the highest frequency of ED adverse event reports from 2010-2020… The top 20 medications with the highest frequency of ED were included in the disproportionality analysis… Of these 20 medications, there were 6,142 reports of ED and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs) accounted for 2,823 (46%) of these reports… Seven medications showed significant levels of disproportionate reporting but finasteride and dutasteride had the highest PRRs: 110.03 (103.14-117.39) and 9.40 (7.83-11.05) respectively… Physicians and patients should be familiar with medications that are associated with ED.
—Medications Most Commonly Associated with Erectile Dysfunction: The Journal of Urology, May 15, 2022
[T]he UAE Ministry of Health recommend[s] that companies that produce products containing [finasteride] add [muscle weakness and stiffness] to the internal leaflet of their products.
Health Canada recently recommended adding a warning to products containing [finasteride]… While being administered the above-mentioned drug, patients may develop muscle weakness and stiffness, which in turn may cause pain to the patient, damage to muscle tissue and an increase in kinase enzymes. Accordingly, Health Canada and the UAE Ministry of Health recommend that companies that produce products containing [finasteride] add the above-mentioned warning to the internal leaflet of their products.
—Adding a warning to pharmaceutical preparations containing the medicinal substance finasteride: Administrative Circular No. (2009) of 2017
Up to 20% of subjects reporting persistent sexual dysfunction for 6 or more years after stopping the drug, suggesting…that it may never go away.
[Propecia] has the sexual side effects, like erectile dysfunction, which can affect men for years. It’s something the drug companies had to disclose over the last decade: “Difficulty achieving an erection that continues after stopping the medication,” side effects that may even be permanent. Up to 20 percent of subjects reporting persistent sexual dysfunction for six or more years after stopping the drug, suggesting the possibility that it may never go away.
—Pills for Hair Growth: YouTube, June 2022
Do not use finasteride…for hair loss.
Do not use finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) for hair loss. There is accumulating evidence that it negatively impacts male fertility. You may instead use topical minoxidil (Rogaine), which has no known negative effects on male fertility.
—Men’s Health and Fertility Lifestyle Information: Weill Cornell Medicine Center
In December 2018…a 28-year-old man who was distressed by a number of symptoms associated with finasteride, a drug he had been taking for 12 months.
In December 2018, I treated Óscar (not his real name), a 28-year-old man who was distressed by a number of symptoms associated with finasteride, a drug he had been taking for 12 months for alopecia, as prescribed by his dermatologist. He had stopped treatment 10 months earlier, but symptoms that affected his quality of life persisted—decreased libido, depression and disassociation “between his brain and his genitals”… From December 2018 until now, I have treated about 50 young men from all over Spain who have been on finasteride for alopecia and whose symptoms persisted in the physical, sexual and psychological spheres.
—Post-Finasteride Syndrome: An Endocrinologist’s View Endocrinologist and Pediatrician: August 2022
[S]top prescribing finasteride.
[A]gree. I think we need to put the [PCPT] trial concerns to rest. [W]e also need to stop prescribing finasteride.
Patients and doctors remain largely unaware of the long-term consequences of [finasteride] on the nervous system and mental health.
Patients and doctors remain largely unaware of the long-term consequences of this drug on the nervous system and mental health. Unfortunately, some of the side effects of finasteride are more serious and persistent than the original condition it is intended to treat… [W]e encountered a surprising association between finasteride use and presence of optic neuropathy or retinopathy… To worsen the situation, the neuropsychiatric impact of finasteride—changes in mood and behavior—can alter practitioner perceptions about affected patients, resulting in a psychosomatic diagnosis.
—A Letter Regarding Finasteride: SouthBayRetina.com, May 2021
[Finasteride] shouldn’t be used for years on end because it can negatively impact the heart.
Drugs to shrink the prostate (dutasteride, finasteride) shouldn’t be used for years on end because it can negatively impact the heart.
—Statement (via Twitter): April 12, 2022
Many clinicians are unaware of the scope of the persistent physical and psychological adverse effects of finasteride.
Many clinicians are unaware of the scope of the persistent physical and psychological adverse effects of finasteride while it is in usage and despite its discontinuation. The treating clinician should have knowledge and awareness about the higher prevalence of depression and sexual dysfunction in the subset of men seeking treatment for AGA in comparison to the general population. Hence, it is mandatory to ask about patients’ histories of preexisting depression or sexual dysfunction before starting finasteride treatment.
—Post-Finasteride Syndrome: Current Views and Where do We Stand? Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research, January 2022
Some have petitioned the FDA to include post-finasteride syndrome as a ‘boxed warning.’ This is the most serious warning given about a medication.
In 2012, the FDA asked pharmaceutical manufacturers to update finasteride’s package insert. The FDA asked them to include a warning about side effects that can continue after stopping treatment. This warning is now mentioned in finasteride’s package insert. But that warning isn’t prominently featured. Some have petitioned the FDA to include post-finasteride syndrome as a “boxed warning.” This is the most serious warning given about a medication.
—What Is Post-Finasteride Syndrome?: October 27, 2021
Don’t take finasteride.
Don’t take finasteride it’s the WORST!!!
—Statement (via Twitter) to research colleague: October 27, 2021
[S]houldn’t we be quite worried about the millions getting the pill?
If topical finasteride causes severe neurocognitive problems, shouldn’t we be quite worried about the millions getting the pill form?
—Referring, via Twitter, to Propecia users claim drug causes memory loss, ED, suicidal thoughts: August 31, 2022
[F]inasteride…seems to increase the risk of self harm and/or suicide.
While finasteride may reduce incidence of BPH and/or change the incidence or type of prostate cancer one gets, it also seems to increase the risk of self harm and/or suicide in both younger and older men.
—Statement via Twitter to fellow clinicians: June 5, 2022
[M]ore and more men are coming in with complaints after taking finasteride.
I wanted to take a minute to talk to you about post-finasteride syndrome since more and more men are coming in with complaints after taking finasteride. While you still don’t hear much about it PFS as we call it is something we should at least call attention to… [I]t’s really important that men are informed about PFS so that they can decide whether or not they actually take finasteride.
—Utah Men’s Health YouTube channel: July 11, 2019
Patients who are having emotional issues on finasteride…need to be removed from finasteride.
Patients who are having emotional issues on finasteride, at the one-milligram dose, young men, need to be removed from finasteride. It’s really important that they get the appropriate counseling.
—The Top 20 Hair Loss Studies of 2020: Donovan Medical (YouTube), December 11, 2020
We wouldn’t recommend that any man take [finasteride], especially not young men.
We are certainly very cautious, because we see the side effects [of finasteride]. We wouldn’t recommend that any man take the drug, especially not young men. The longer they take it, the greater the risk of experiencing persistent side effects, including after they’ve stopped.
—Do Anti-Baldness Remedies Make You Impotent? Swiss TV network SRF, May 7, 2018
The androgen sensitive meibomian glands may be altered in those taking…finasteride given its unique potency and targeted effects compared to other anti-androgenics.
[T]his represents the largest demographic study over 15 years of [dry eye disease] patients on finasteride, demonstrating an association with finasteride usage and [meibomian gland dysfunction], conjunctival, and corneal abnormalities. The androgen sensitive meibomian glands may be altered in those taking anti-androgen medications, and especially finasteride given its unique potency and targeted effects compared to other anti-androgenics. This study reinforces the importance of considering the long-term effects of finasteride use on DED as part of the systemic sequelae of androgen depletion and provides anticipatory guidance for patients and ophthalmologists.
I will not prescribe finasteride to young men with MPB because of the potential side effects.
I will not prescribe finasteride to young men with MPB because of the potential side effects. In my clinical experience, the length of time on the medication does not correlate with the severity or duration of the side effects. There are numerous hormonal and nonhormonal treatment options for men with PFS.
—Playing with your sex hormones with Propecia use can play with your sex life: Pelvic Health & Rehabilitation, July 16, 2015
[T]hey know the risks but prefer the hair. It’s insane.
Nowadays some young men prefer to take fina[steride] AND duta[steride] to try to keep their hair. And they know the risks but prefer the hair. It’s insane. (I got my hair transplant at 36). Never mind mess with my precious and pleasant DHT. (my prostate is checked and fine)
—Statement (via Twitter) to medical colleague: January 19, 2022
[I]t’s amazing how many guys seem not to care.
I have patients ask about [finasteride] all the time and I always discuss the risks of sexual dysfunction at length but it’s amazing how many guys seem not to care.
—Statement (via Twitter) to medical colleague: January 19, 2022
This systematic review…supports the conclusion that [finasteride] treatment is significantly associated with risk of clinical depression, as well as high rates of sexual dysfunction and evidence of increased risk of suicidal ideation and perhaps of suicidal behavior.
In association with adverse sexual effects and depression, suicidal ideation and behavior have sometimes been associated with finasteride treatment. In 2017, the European Medical Agency recommended adding warnings of potential risk of suicidal ideation to product information for finasteride. Importantly, adverse effects associated with finasteride can persist even after discontinuing its use, leading to what has been termed post-finasteride syndrome, including sexual, physical, and psychiatric symptoms, including depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and suicidal ideation. These observations encouraged the present systematic review of the research literature pertaining to changes in mood and possible increases in suicidal ideation and behavior in association with or following treatment with finasteride… This systematic review of reports concerning adverse psychiatric effects of finasteride treatment supports the conclusion that such treatment is significantly associated with risk of clinical depression, as well as high rates of sexual dysfunction and evidence of increased risk of suicidal ideation and perhaps of suicidal behavior.
—Risk of Depression Associated With Finasteride Treatment: Journal of Clinical Psychoparmacology, March 31, 2021
Don’t let any man you know take that poison!
Finasteride (Proscar, Avodart, dutasteride) is absolute garbage on a serious note! Don’t let any man you know take that poison!
—Statement (via Twitter): March 8, 2022
Clinicians should pay greater attention to the psychological adverse effects of finasteride when prescribing them, especially in the younger population using the drug for hair loss.
This is the first analysis, to our knowledge, of suicidality and psychological adverse events in association with finasteride in VigiBase, an international pharmacovigilance database…These findings could raise concern that younger men with alopecia may be especially at risk for suicidality compared with the general population…Clinicians should pay greater attention to the psychological adverse effects of finasteride when prescribing them, especially in the younger population using the drug for hair loss.
—Investigation of Suicidality and Psychological Adverse Events in Patients Treated With Finasteride: JAMA Dermatology, November 2020
Post finasteride syndrome is so real!
Post finasteride syndrome is so real! Hundreds of patients coming to #sandiegosexualmedicine with this. Often have low t. Make sure to check dht also! Some recommend andractim, available in Europe (and online). Shockwave therapy for ED. Can take years to get better for some!
Don’t risk your future children for a little hair.
Men who take finasteride for baldness or receding hairlines can develop sexual dysfunction. Don’t risk your future children for a little hair.
[S]ymptoms can persist for months or years after stopping the drug.
The Bottom Line: It is important to know that those who experience hair loss are more likely to report depression, so clinical trials are needed to conclusively determine whether finasteride causes depression and anxiety. However, studies have documented depression and anxiety among finasteride patients, along with sexual side effects, and symptoms can persist for months or years after stopping the drug.
—Taking Propecia or Proscar to Prevent Hair Loss is Associated with Depression, Anxiety, and Sexual Problems: National Center for Health Research website, 2021
PFS can start shortly after starting the medication and can possibly last months to years after stopping.
PFS can start shortly after starting the medication and can possibly last months to years after stopping. Decreasing the dosage strength is unlikely to reduce the risk of PFS. Patients considering using these medications should be very careful and speak to a Urologist in person about risks, benefits, and indications of treatment.
—What is Post-Finasteride Syndrome? HTX Urology website, December 2019
[R]eal risks of cognitive decline.
Literally a drug looking for any reason to still exist. And can we talk about the real risks of cognitive decline with them???
I do not recommend using finasteride for the treatment of hair loss as its side effects are more dangerous.
[Y]ou need to understand that hair[-loss] is not a life-threatening condition. However, it can affect general appearance. Every dermatologist has their own way of treating the condition. In my opinion, I do not recommend using finasteride for the treatment of hair loss as its side effects are more dangerous. So I suggest you continue with Minoxidil and multivitamins. In the [long] term, if nothing works out, then go for a hair transplant rather than using Finasteride.
Due to the risk of sexual side effects, clinicians should exercise caution when treating AGA patients with finasteride.
Due to the risk of sexual side effects, clinicians should exercise caution when treating AGA patients with finasteride. In addition, there is a recognized conglomerate of sexual side effects accompanied by neuropsychiatric effects including depression that have been grouped into a term known as post-finasteride syndrome.
[T]he scientific world immediately needs to conduct more research to determine how to effectively treat this horrible symptom complex.
Until the actual pathophysiology of PFS is determined and effective therapies are discovered, we all have to think twice before prescribing a 5ARIs for our patients with either BPH and/or AGA. Meanwhile, professional organizations may provide educational materials for physicians in order to increase their awareness regarding the scope of these persistent catastrophic adverse effects of finasteride and dutasteride. Considering the thousands of sufferers who already have PFS, the scientific world immediately needs to conduct more research to determine how to effectively treat this horrible symptom complex.
—Post-Finasteride Syndrome: An Underestimated Phenomenon: Urology and Andrology, September 2016
That little pill messed me up pretty good.
You wipe a drug off the earth… mine is finasteride… Go! That little pill messed me up pretty good… Very few [primary care physicians] are starting proscar or avodart. Keep sexual side effects in mind!
—Challenge to fellow health professionals via Twitter: October 26, 2021
There are serious side effects that need to be considered!
Treatment with finasteride and dutasteride is thought to potentially improve male pattern baldness. But be careful, friends. It’s not to be used without medical supervision. There are serious side effects that need to be considered!
—Statement via Twitter, February 10, 2022
[A]t least 17 countries…have warned…of the potential for depression, sexual side effects, or both.
Emerging post-marketing reports of persistent depression and sexual side effects have led to growing concerns about the safety of 5α-reductase inhibitors and prompted product labeling changes in many regulatory jurisdictions. Since 2008, at least 17 countries including the United Kingdom and the United States have warned prescribers of the potential for depression, sexual side effects, or both with finasteride.
Finasteride USERS BEWARE!!!
Finasteride USERS BEWARE!!! I stop just about every patient that comes to me on this medication.
There are currently no satisfactory treatment options for post-finasteride syndrome.
There are currently no satisfactory treatment options for post-finasteride syndrome. Transdermal substitution of dihydrotestosterone led to an improvement in sexual symptoms in two placebo-controlled studies. However, cognitive functions, depression, and quality of life were not improved. When prescribing antidepressants, the advantages and disadvantages must be carefully weighed, as some antidepressants may improve the symptoms of depression but have an unfavorable effect on sexual function.
—Successful Finasteride Treatment Can Lead to Permanent Problems: Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung, April 2018
I have done an analysis of reported neuropsychiatric adverse effect of finasteride to the FDA…which…shows a much higher signal in comparison with other drugs used for alopecia.
I have done an analysis of reported neuropsychiatric adverse effect of finasteride to the FDA (based on FAERS data) which may be of interest to you. It shows a much higher signal in comparison with other drugs used for alopecia or suspected to affect mood… I’m surprised the FDA has not done these simple comparisons to explore safety signals for finasteride.
—Letter to the PFS Foundation, March 2, 2022
It’s unnatural for adult men to have low levels of [Androstanediol glucoronide].
Androstanediol glucoronide is a hormone derived from DHT (the hormone inhibited by finasteride). In men affected by the PFS, the level of Androstanediol Glucuronide is not restored to previous finasteride levels. The result of the blood test hormone in these patients is generally below the scale or a very low result. It’s unnatural for adult men to have low levels of this molecule. Only individuals who are born with intersex characteristics (hermaphrodites) have low levels of this hormone. It is essentially a masculinizing hormone and may have an effect on sexuality… Women present low levels of Androstanediol glucoronide naturally, since they produce little testosterone. Women who have high levels of this hormone, show reproductive problems (polycystic ovary), excess body hair and a more masculine appearance.
—Andrologica Blog, April 7, 2018
[T]ime to re-evaluate its use.
Two papers in a short period of time showing higher rates of suicide with finasteride. PFS is real—time to re-evaluate its use.
Haven’t used this drug in over 7 years of practice.
Thanks for citing our work [Dr. Faysal]. 100% agree. Haven’t used this drug in over 7 years of practice except in very rare cases.
—Expanding (via Twitter) on a study published in JAMA Dermatology he co-authored, titled Investigation of Suicidality and Psychological Adverse Events in Patients Treated With Finasteride, December 7, 2020
Finasteride is phasing out of my practice.
Agreed. Finasteride is phasing out of my practice.
[F]inasteride is associated with common adverse health effects in women…such as irregular menstrual cycle, aromatase disorder, high cholesterol, heavy menstrual bleeding and induced DNA damage.
[F]inasteride is associated with common adverse health effects in women with long-term treatment for androgenetic alopecia, such as irregular menstrual cycle, aromatase disorder, high cholesterol, heavy menstrual bleeding and induced DNA damage. Long-term-treatment follow-up revealed that (5 mg/day) effects on hair growth are sustained in most women. Finally, the study recommended that finasteride should not be administrated as treatment for androgenetic alopecia in women.
—Prolonged use of finasteride-induced gonadal sex steroids alterations, DNA damage and menstrual bleeding in women: Bioscience Reports, February 2020
Even if the incidence of persistent sexual adverse events is 3% to 5%… approximately 900,000 to 1.5 million men would suffer persistent sexual and psychiatric adverse events.
[A]pproximately 30 million young men, worldwide, would be prescribed finasteride or dutasteride to treat male pattern hair loss. Even if the incidence of persistent sexual adverse events is 3% to 5%, which may be viewed as a small number, approximately 900,000 to 1.5 million men would suffer persistent sexual and psychiatric adverse events. By no means this would be considered a small number and should not be dismissed or ignored.
—Post-finasteride syndrome: a surmountable challenge for clinicians: Fertility and Sterility, January 2020
You don’t have to be a genius to realize that, when you’re taking away the most potent form of testosterone, and you’re affecting, for example, ejaculate volume, clearly something is changing.
You don’t have to be a genius to realize that, when you’re taking away the most potent form of testosterone, and you’re affecting, for example, ejaculate volume, clearly something is changing around the prostate area. Then, when people are coming back and saying they have libido issues, those are relevant.
—How Avodart and Proscar Affect Libido: Prostate Cancer Research Institute, May 3, 2021
If a patient treated with 1 mg finasteride develops psychiatric symptoms, treatment should be stopped.
Healthcare Professionals should carefully monitor patients during treatment with finasteride for psychiatric symptoms (including anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation). If a patient treated with 1 mg finasteride develops psychiatric symptoms, treatment should be stopped.
—Direct Healthcare Professional Communication letter, October 4, 2018
We stopped prescribing finasteride because the risk is just too high.
Even if you take just a little finasteride, it can actually drop your DHT so low that men become impotent. That’s a very common thing. I have patients who come in to see me for sexual problems. Usually it’s ED. Then they have no ejaculate. They also have problems with sex drive. So that’s all gone in many men, just because of finasteride. And that’s huge. You have to choose between hair and sex drive and your personality and your marriage or your partnership… I’ve tried giving testosterone to patients who are on finasteride at the same time. And I have to use huge amounts of testosterone to overcome this drug. And it’s not worth it…. We stopped prescribing finasteride because the risk is just too high.
—BioBalance Healthcast: The Ugly Truth About Finasteride, June 7, 2021
Finasteride is not one of my first recommendations due to its possible known side effects.
[T]here has been a Red Hand Letter for this drug since 2018. Every patient must be thoroughly informed about its side effects. Finasteride is not one of my first recommendations due to its possible known side effects. If a patient absolutely wants to take finasteride, he must sign a form acknowledging that he has been informed about the side effects and is willing to accept them.
—This Hair-Loss Drug Has Powerful Effects: Men’s Health Germany, June 2021
Pharmacological treatments, including finasteride and oral contraceptives, that inhibit 5α-RI…are associated with mood symptoms and suicide.
Pharmacological treatments, including finasteride and oral contraceptives, that inhibit 5α-RI, which results in a blood and brain allopregnanolone decrease also affect subunit expression of GABAA receptor and are associated with mood symptoms and suicide and are part of post-finasteride syndrome.
—Allopregnanolone, the Neuromodulator Turned Therapeutic Agent: Thank You, Next? Frontiers in Endocrinology, May 2020
It seemed the finasteride was the culprit.
Reggie told me that sometimes he got confused for no reason and he felt tired all the time. Plus, his muscles and joints ached… It seemed the finasteride was the culprit.
—He Became Depressed and His Sex Drive Disappeared. What Was the Cause? Discover, October 2020
We believe the warnings about finasteride are justified.
[T]here is no known treatment for lifelong PFS. Perhaps worst of all, despite that fact that it is the minority of men who are so drastically affected, there is no way to predict who will or won’t suffer the aftermath of taking finasteride. However, PFS is now so prevalent that it has its own foundation, the Post-Finasteride Syndrome Foundation, where you can acquire a great deal of sobering information, enough to make you wonder why anyone would take the drug to begin with. We believe the warnings about finasteride are justified.
—BPH? No Fun. Balding? Yuck. But Nobody Warned Me about Finasteride! SperlingProstateCenter.com, Aug. 30, 2018
[E]very day I receive more and more emails from young men whose lives have been changed by finasteride.
[E]very day I receive more and more emails from young men whose lives have been changed by finasteride. Maybe you think I’m exaggerating. I didn’t believe it either, until 10 years ago, when I started seeing more men with PFS… I advise you once again to never use [finasteride] to treat hair loss. Although nobody knows how many men it impacts, its effects are devastating.
—What is Post-Finasteride Syndrome? VigoraClinic.com, April 30, 2020
For the first time, we demonstrate a tissue-specific methylation pattern of SRD5A2 promoter in PFS patients.
For the first time, we demonstrate a tissue-specific methylation pattern of SRD5A2 promoter in PFS patients [which] could represent an important mechanism of neuroactive steroid levels and behavioral disturbances previously described in PFS… The SRD5A2 promoter was more frequently methylated in the CSF of PFS patients compared to controls (56.3 versus 7.7%).
—Altered methylation pattern of the SRD5A2 gene in cerebrospinal fluid of post-finasteride patients: a pilot study: Endocrine Connections, July, 2019
People kill themselves after taking [finasteride]…and so many people with the same symptoms can’t be wrong.
People kill themselves after taking [finasteride]…I had a colleague who took his own life 15 years ago, so I know it happens—and so many people with the same symptoms can’t be wrong. People take their own lives because of the effects of the drug, but also because they can’t get through to anyone and they are not believed.
—The Drug that Banishes Baldness Can Ruin a Man’s Love Life: Daily Mail, July 22, 2019
[T]hese data indicate the urgent need for high-quality clinical trials, with long-term follow up.
[T]hese data indicate the urgent need for high-quality clinical trials, with long-term follow up, specifically addressing sexual function and mood disorders. In addition, it is imperative to study in detail the molecular mechanisms that cause this condition, trying to identify a possible genetic predisposition, in order to limit the burden of PFS. Finally, therapeutic strategies, [such as] neuroactive steroid treatment, able to relieve or to cure this condition are also urgently needed.
—Post-finasteride syndrome: An emerging clinical problem: Neurobiology of Stress, May 2020
Their only crime in life is to take an FDA-approved drug.
I have hundreds of [PFS] patients. They have low libido. They have flat emotions. They see a woman, they say intellectually, ‘I know I am supposed to be interested in you. But I am actually not interested in you’. They have muted orgasms, reduced volume of ejaculate, reduced penile sensation… If it is 1.4 percent [of finasteride patients who experience persistent sexual dysfunction] and there are several million people on this product, you’re looking at 300,000 men rendered impotent by a hair-loss drug. Their only crime in life is to take an FDA-approved drug.
—Hair Loss Drug Propecia Carries Risk of Losing Something Else: NBC News, March 10, 2017
Post-finasteride syndrome wasn’t reported in clinical studies, but it has been reported since the drug was approved.
Stopping finasteride treatment can cause post-finasteride syndrome. This may result in side effects such as memory problems or sexual dysfunction (problems that affect the desire for or ability to have sex). Post-finasteride syndrome wasn’t reported in clinical studies, but it has been reported since the drug was approved. Side effects thought to be caused by post-finasteride syndrome can be mild or serious. Although some of these side effects may go away with time, others may be permanent.
—Medical News Today, July 26, 2021
At least 5-6 patients per year find their way to #UCLA_Andrology.
Definitely see this. “Post-finasteride syndrome.” At least 5-6 patients per year find their way to #UCLA_Andrology. Normal T and gonadotropins on lab evaluation. Can take a year to improve.
[N]o recovery after discontinuation of use.
There are feared side effects [from finasteride] that include sexual dysfunction in men, some of which can be very serious. And it must be mentioned that there are cases in which these functions are irreversibly impaired, which means there is no recovery after discontinuation of use.
—Segment on German network WDR’s Tricks of the Beauty Industry, June 30, 2021
…anxiety/panic due to finasteride.
Maybe not atypical, but anxiety/panic due to finasteride.
Post-finasteride syndrome is a legit thing.
Seen this far too often to doubt that it’s real. Post-finasteride syndrome is a legit thing. For those who argue that there is no data to support this—As the saying goes, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.
Finasteride is poison.
Finasteride is poison. there. I said it.
I added finasteride to my 2021 list…
I added finasteride to my 2021 list of Drugs to Avoid.
All healthcare providers should learn about these conditions.
—Statement (via Twitter), July 27, 2021
Based on currently available data, the use of 5α-reductase inhibitors in patients with a history of depression, sexual dysfunction or infertility must be carefully and individually evaluated.
[PFS] appears to occur in sensitive individuals, even if exposed to small doses and for short periods, and symptoms can persist for long periods. Based on currently available data, the use of 5α-reductase inhibitors in patients with a history of depression, sexual dysfunction or infertility must be carefully and individually evaluated.
—Post-Finasteride Syndrome Exists!! TagMedicina.it, May 5, 2020
Using finasteride for hair loss is like shooting at sparrows with cannons.
Using finasteride for hair loss is like shooting at sparrows with cannons. The drug.…blocks not only the super hormone but also other hormones that affect thinking and psyche, mood and emotions. Discontinuation of the drug should actually make the hormones work again.…but apparently, something breaks down in some men, in the prostate, in the brain, in the whole organism.
—I Didn’t Want to Go Bald. A Pill the Doctor Gave Me Destroyed My Life (English translation): Die Zeit, Feb. 22, 2018
Depression and suicidal behavior are all very serious side effects caused by finasteride.
Depression and suicidal behavior are all very serious side effects caused by finasteride, and this is absolutely unacceptable for a lifestyle drug… Rationally, one cannot advocate for this medicine or justify the fact it’s still on the market. Actually, it should be banned from the market, because it works weakly, it only works as long as you take it and it can have a lot of unwanted serious effects that are intolerable for a lifestyle drug.
Do not take finasteride for hair loss…Do not take finasteride for any purpose.
Do not take finasteride for hair loss…Do not take finasteride for any purpose…For many years, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group has classified both [Proscar and Propecia] as Do Not Use because their benefits do not outweigh their adverse effects.
—Updated Review of the Hair Loss and Prostate Drug Finasteride: Worst Pills, Best Pills, January 2020
Proscar can hardly be categorized as ‘safe’ because it can cause breast enlargement, reduced libido and impotence.
The use of Finasteride (Proscar) for the prevention of cancer is limited since it only prevents the harmless type of prostate cancer (the SKY Stage.) Proscar can hardly be categorized as “safe” because it can cause breast augmentation, reduced libido andimpotence.
Propecia should not have been authorized in the first place, and its approval should be revoked as soon as possible.
Propecia was approved in 1997 as a solution to slow male pattern baldness. Finasteride is not only poorly effective, but it can lead to infertility. As we stated in 2006, we advise against a cosmetic product with potential endocrine side effects. Propecia should have never been approved, and its authorization should be revoked as soon as possible.
Published reports of clinical trials provide insufficient information to establish the safety profile for finasteride in the treatment of AGA.
Available toxicity information from clinical trials of finasteride in men with [androgenic alopecia] is very limited, is of poor quality, and seems to be systematically biased. In a cohort of men prescribed finasteride for routine treatment of AGA, most would have been excluded from the pivotal studies that supported US Food and Drug Administration approval for AGA. Published reports of clinical trials provide insufficient information to establish the safety profile for finasteride in the treatment of AGA.
PFS is real.
I have personally seen in my practice otherwise completely healthy young men who come in for ED and the only medication they had taken was finasteride for hair loss. PFS is real.
Propecia…suppresses libido in about 10 percent of men but is much more profound in younger guys.
Propecia…diminishes dihydrotestosterone levels and suppresses libido in about 10 percent of men but is much more profound in younger guys… Try stopping and using minoxidil instead for hair preservation.
—5 Common Medications That Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction: MedShadow, June 9, 2019
By reducing DHT so drastically, effects can occur in the genital tissues and in the brain.
By reducing DHT so drastically, effects can occur in the genital tissues and in the brain. This can lead to numbness in the penis and erectile and libido disorders, which are related to what happens in the brain. These symptoms are very rare, but once you have them, it’s forever.
—Baldness Medication Can Cause Permanent Erection Problems (English translation): De Volkskrant, February 15, 2019
I do not prescribe finasteride or dutasteride for sexually active patients.
I do not prescribe finasteride or dutasteride for sexually active patients. I have seen some cases of post-finasteride-syndrome that do not revert to anything. In my opinion, these medications are contraindicated in this population.
The proportion of men taking 5ARIs and experiencing erectile dysfunction is likely around 5 percent.
The proportion of men taking 5ARIs and experiencing erectile dysfunction is likely around 5 percent. I think it’s important to be educated about the potential side effects.
—Donald Trump’s hair loss drug tied to anger, depression, and self-harm in new medical study: The Daily Mail, March 21, 2017
Persistent side effects from finasteride are real.
Symptomatic finasteride users had “significantly lower International Index of Erectile Function composite score” and “significantly lower scores for each of its domains of erectile function, sexual desire, orgasmic function, intercourse satisfaction, and overall satisfaction.”…There exists “a significant positive correlation between a subset of Beck Depression Inventory scores related to negative attitude and blood oxygen level dependent activity.“
—Characteristics of Men Who Report Persistent Sexual Symptoms After Finasteride Use for Hair Loss: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, July 2018
Blocking 5 alpha-reductase to any degree in the brain is a crapshoot. [In] some men, the damage is hardwired.
Blocking 5 alpha-reductase to any degree in the brain is a crapshoot. Theoretically, you are going to block the production of hormones that serve very important behavioral purposes. Essentially, the cells get too much DHT, it puts them in overdrive and it burns them out. But unfortunately, in some men, the damage is hardwired.
—The Medical Mystery Behind America’s Best-Selling Hair-loss Drug: Tonic magazine, Nov. 21, 2016
Finasteride: NOT a benign drug.
Fun fact: castrated rats regain erections [with] testosterone supplementation, but LOSE it when co-administered with 5 alpha reductase inhibitor. Finasteride: NOT a benign drug.
[Finasteride’s] potential side effects, especially the long-term side effects of the drug, should be the overriding concerns to both the users and the manufacturer.
“[Finasteride’s] potential side effects, especially the long-term side effects of the drug, should be the overriding concerns to both the users and the manufacturer… [Finasteride] has the capability to impair male sexual performance, creating the inability to achieve an erection, decreases libido and has the horrifying potential of causing specific birth defects in a developing male fetus.”
—Supposed Miracle Baldness Cure Creates Serious Health Concerns Among Hair Restoration Professionals: Business Wire, December 24, 1997
[M]any doctors don’t understand or even recognize PFS as a real disease and these patients will suffer alone.
Signs of post-finasteride syndrome (PFS) include mood swings, mental fog, depression, anxiety, erectile dysfunction, orgasm and ejaculation dysfunction. [Propecia] is a scary drug and we have no idea who might be affected worse by it. Some men taking Propecia for [male pattern baldness] seem to have little to no side effects, whereas others suffer for years. In addition, many doctors don’t understand or even recognize PFS as a real disease and these patients will suffer alone.
—Playing with your sex hormones with Propecia use can play with your sex life: Pelvic Health & Rehabilitation, July 16, 2015
I think [Propecia] is a potentially dangerous drug.
I think [Propecia] is a potentially dangerous drug. Twenty percent of men who take Propecia see their sexual function diminish. I even told my brother-in-law to stop taking it.
We propose that the Dermatologist Society remove from their guidelines ‘the utilization of finasteride for male pattern hair loss.’
Persistent adverse effects development from finasteride in young men include erectile dysfunction, low libido, lack of orgasm and depression. Finasteride use in young males is a potential risk for their sexual health. Physicians treating male pattern hair loss should discuss with patients the potential risk of adverse events with finasteride. We propose that the Dermatologist Society remove from their guidelines “the utilization of finasteride for male pattern hair loss.”
—Sexual and Nonsexual Problems after Finasteride Used for Hair Loss in Young Men: American Society for Men’s Health, 2014
This drug should never have been marketed for cosmetic purposes.
According to Bernard Begaud…“This drug should never have been marketed for cosmetic purposes.” But now that it is available, it’s up to those concerned to decide whether or not to take this medication, or to stop taking it. They need to be better informed.
—Should We Fear Hair-loss Medications? Le Figaro, March 3, 2019
Some of the effects of androgen inhibition cannot be reversed once local androgen levels are re-established.
Treatment of young subjects is of increasing concern due to accumulating evidence that daily use of oral finasteride has several severe adverse effects.…Since finasteride inhibits T conversion into DHT, which is responsible for most androgen activity, it is plausible that prolonged finasteride use in predisposed individuals could simulate the effects of aging in young men. Since some of the effects of androgen inhibition cannot be reversed once local androgen levels are re-established, it is temping to speculate that patients could still suffer from adverse sexual effects several months or even permanently after finasteride discontinuation.
—Immunohistochemical Evaluation of Androgen Receptor and Nerve Structure Density in Human Prepuce from Patients with Persistent Sexual Side Effects after Finasteride Use for Androgenetic Alopecia: PLOS ONE, June 24, 2014
I would not feel comfortable recommending Propecia to a young, sexually active man.
My yardstick for treating any patient is, what would I do if this were my own son? Ten years ago, I would have answered differently. But now I would not feel comfortable recommending Propecia to a young, sexually active man.
—Are Hair-Loss Drugs Safe? Men’s Journal: September 2015
With a greater concentration of receptors, the [penis] becomes more sensitive to testosterone and at a certain point, paradoxically, that sensitivity may shut down.
A group of Italian researchers gave finasteride to rats and noticed that the number of androgen receptors in their brains went up. Moreover, the effects persisted long after the drug had been discontinued.…[T]hey then called in men with PFS, took skin from the penis and found that the density of androgen receptors in men with PFS was about twice that of those without. Now, remember the idea of the testosterone bell curve and damping effects (little testosterone, little growth, more testosterone, more growth, even more testosterone, reduced growth)? I think this is what we are seeing here. With a greater concentration of receptors, the organ becomes more sensitive to testosterone and at a certain point, paradoxically, that sensitivity may shut down.
I don’t think it’s very responsible for dermatologists to use [finasteride] to combat hair loss.
I don’t think it’s very responsible for dermatologists to use [finasteride] to combat hair loss. You must know that this molecule, finasteride, has been the subject of more than 2,600 scientific articles found in trustworthy databases. And they all say, You may be able to reduce baldness, but it comes with a serious risk of impotence, ejaculation problems, testicular pain and, just as bad, a risk of breast cancer.
—The Wonderhair Pill, May 2016. VRT-TV, Belgium
[Finasteride] is associated with adverse side effects that could become persistent after therapy discontinuation.
Finasteride is a steroid 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, approved for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia and benign prostate hyperplasia. In some patients the treatment is associated with adverse side effects that could become persistent after therapy discontinuation, resulting in the so-called post-finasteride syndrome (PFS).
—A pharmacogenetic survey of androgen receptor (CAG)n and (GGN)n polymorphisms in patients experiencing long term side effects after finasteride discontinuation: International Journal of Biological Markers, Dec. 9, 2014
Persistent sexual side effects as well as anxious/depressive symptomatology reported even after discontinuation of finasteride.
Observations performed in a subset of patients treated for male pattern hair loss indicate that persistent sexual side effects as well as anxious/depressive symptomatology have been reported even after discontinuation of finasteride treatment.
—Patients treated for male pattern hair with finasteride show, after discontinuation of the drug, altered levels of neuroactive steroids in cerebrospinal fluid and plasma: Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, February 2015
Refrain from prescribing oral finasteride to a patient with a personal history of depression, sexual dysfunction, or fertility problems.
To date there are no predictive factors for the risk of development of post-finasteride syndrome and no known treatment for the disorder. For the time being, as a general rule: Refrain from prescribing oral finasteride to a patient with a personal history of depression, sexual dysfunction, or fertility problems.
This research should cause us to think more carefully about this commonly encountered medication.
A review of 17 randomized controlled trials (including more than 17,000 patients) demonstrated a nearly twofold increase in sexual, ejaculatory and orgasmic dysfunction in young men using Propecia for male pattern hair loss. At the same time, a recent study demonstrated changes in the levels of certain steroids in cerebrospinal fluid of men taking finasteride for hair loss. These steroids have been shown to influence brain function, and their presence may help explain the profound psychological changes such as depression and suicidality that have been associated with finasteride use. This research should cause us to think more carefully about this commonly encountered medication.
—Potential side effects of the drug Trump reportedly takes for hair loss: The Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2017
(CAG)n and (GGN)n repeats had different frequencies according to symptoms reported by patients with PFS, likely reflecting the vast array of genes modulated.
Long-term adverse symptoms of men who used oral finasteride against androgenic alopecia have been recently described as post-finasteride syndrome (PFS). Aim: To determine whether (CAG)n-rs4045402 and (GGN)n-rs3138869 polymorphisms in the androgen receptor (AR) gene are implicated in PFS. Conclusion: This study showed that short and/or long (CAG)n and (GGN)n repeats had different frequencies according to symptoms reported by patients with PFS, likely reflecting the vast array of genes modulated by the AR [and] a U-curvilinear profile of (CAG)n repeats for skin dryness symptoms, where the two extremes exhibited a worse condition than medium repeats.
—Androgen Receptor (AR) Gene (CAG)n and (GGN)n Length Polymorphisms and Symptoms in Young Males With Long-Lasting Adverse Effects After Finasteride Use Against Androgenic Alopecia: Journal of Sexual Medicine, November 2016
Sexual dysfunction and suicidal ideation that appears to result from [finasteride] are important adverse effects.
Sexual dysfunction and suicidal ideation that appears to result from [finasteride] are important adverse effects. Patients should be informed of these risks, so that they can weigh the benefits of harms against treatment.
—Finasteride 1 mg in Alopecia: Sexual Dysfunction, Suicidal Ideation: Prescrire, October 2016
Adverse effects persisted…indicating the possible presence of a ‘post-finasteride syndrome.’
In this pilot study, we sought to characterize sexual and nonsexual adverse effects that men reported experiencing at least 3 months after stopping the medication.…Responses from 131 generally healthy men (mean age, 24 years) who had taken finasteride for male pattern hair loss was included in the analysis. The most notable finding was that adverse effects persisted in each of the domains, indicating the possible presence of a “post-finasteride syndrome.”
—Persistent Sexual, Emotional, and Cognitive Impairment Post-Finasteride: American Journal of Men’s Health, June 13, 2014
Further research is needed on who is susceptible to the persistent, adverse side-effects of finasteride.
Post-finasteride syndrome is now a recognized condition, affecting as many as 20 per cent of those taking finasteride.…The persistent sexual side-effects of finasteride may manifest after varying periods of taking the drug, or not until the drug is discontinued. It is not known why some men are susceptible to the potential adverse effects of finasteride, while others—the majority—are not affected.…Further research is needed on who is susceptible to the persistent, adverse side-effects of finasteride and on the underlying mechanisms of the medication.
—A Clinical Overview of Finasteride and Its Potential Causative Links to Long-term Side-effects: The Medical Independent, Jan. 22, 2015
Finasteride treatment may have broad consequences for brain function.
The effects in the brain of finasteride…have been poorly explored. Therefore, the effects of a subchronic treatment of finasteride.…have been evaluated in male rats.… One month after the last treatment.…changes in neuroactive steroid levels, steroid receptors…and GABA-A receptor subunits…were detected. These findings suggest that finasteride treatment may have broad consequences for brain function.
—Effects of Subchronic Finasteride Treatment and Withdrawal on Neuroactive Steroid Levels and Their Receptors in the Male Rat Brain: Neuroendocrinology, Dec. 9, 2015
Men suffering from PFS are plagued with many physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that have led to long-term depression, marital problems and divorce, and now several reported cases of suicide.
Post-finasteride syndrome is a serious state of permanent sexual, mental and physical side effects which do not resolve after quitting the drug… It is also surmised by the few specialists in the medical field that a type of receptor or “brain damage” has occurred.…Men suffering from PFS are plagued with many physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that have led to long-term depression, marital problems and divorce, and now several reported cases of suicide.
—Post-Finasteride Syndrome Therapy, MatthewBruhin.com, 2015
I see probably a half-dozen patients a year who [tell me,] I was feeling fine, I went on [Propecia], and after that, I noticed these changes in my sexual health.
In my own practice, I see probably a half-dozen patients a year who come in with the observation—Hey, I was feeling fine, I went on [Propecia], and after that, I noticed these changes in my sexual health. It’s always been a question in my mind: Was this a lingering drug effect, or are there other factors coming into play?
—Hair Loss Drug ‘Under Fire’ For Sexual Side-Effects: CBS 2 News Chicago, May 11, 2011
Does stopping finasteride treatment mean the physiological mechanism of testosterone secretion is reset?
[Finasteride therapy] is a modification of the hormonal mechanism, which raises the question of reversibility. Does stopping treatment mean the physiological mechanism of testosterone secretion is reset? I can’t answer. We probably don’t have the precise data we’d need to answer that.
—Santé report on the suicide of PFS patient Romain Mathieu: France 5 News, Nov. 24, 2016
Further studies are necessary to investigate the pathophysiological and biochemical pathways leading to post-finasteride syndrome.
Concern regarding adverse effects of finasteride is increasing. We aimed to determine the type and frequency of symptoms in men having long-term sexual and non-sexual side effects after finasteride treatment.…The most frequent sexual symptoms…were loss of penis sensitivity (87.3%), decreased ejaculatory force (82.3%), and low penile temperature (78.5%). The most frequent non-sexual symptoms were reduced feeling of life pleasure or emotions (75.9%), lack of mental concentration (72.2%) and loss of muscle tone/mass (51.9%)…Further studies are necessary to investigate the pathophysiological and biochemical pathways leading to the post-finasteride syndrome.
[Finasteride] treatment affected the expression of a number of accumbal proteins.
[O]ur results showed that [finasteride] treatment affected the expression of a number of accumbal proteins involved in key functional processes, such as regulation of GABAergic neurotransmission, as well as steroid and pyrimidine metabolism. These findings may prove crucial to understanding the neurochemical mechanisms of FIN’s neuropsychiatric side effects.
—Exploring the neural mechanisms of finasteride: a proteomic analysis in the nucleus accumbens, Psychoneuroendocrinology, October 2016
It’s awful when a patient…takes a medication for a specific purpose, but then develops side effects that may be more damaging than its positive effects.
It’s awful when a patient doesn’t know what’s happening, and takes a medication for a specific purpose, but then develops side effects that may be more damaging than its positive effects. The patient needs to know that, and to be able to say, I’m stopping now. That’s the responsibility of the doctor who prescribes the medication, or the pharmacist who supplies it.
—The Wonderhair Pill: VRT-TV, May 2016