Finasteride and Dutasteride are in the family of drugs known as 5alpha-reductase inhibitors (5A-RIs). They are often prescribed for the treatment of male pattern hair loss, known as alopecia, and benign prostate enlargement (BPH). A new study has revealed that these commonly prescribed medicines may lead to adverse sexual side effects such as loss of libido or erectile dysfunction. In some patients, side effects such as libido loss and erectile dysfunction can remain even after discontinuation of therapy.
25% of men currently taking Finasteride or Dutasteride, popularly known as Proscar and Avodart, for the treatment of BPH, appear not to benefit from taking these medications. The findings also suggested that those prescribed Propecia or Avodart for alopecia are also at risk for adverse events elicited by these drugs. The research team believes that besides sexual side effects, the drugs could also have cardiovascular side effects.
Lead researcher Abdulmaged Traish, professor of biochemistry and urology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) in Massachusetts, US, said, "Inhibition of 5A-R activity may potentiate insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, vascular disease and osteoporosis, but studies have not been definitive. The investigation into psychiatric side effects of 5A-RIs has been limited, but some case series describe increased depression and anxiety symptoms among patients on the medication."
The findings appear online in Endocrine Reviews and Metabolic Disorders.