- Erectile dysfunction is a common type of sexual
dysfunction where there is an inability to maintain an erection in men.
- Drugs like finasteride and dutasteride are used for the
treatment of hair loss and enlarged prostate gland.
- Prolonged exposure to drugs like finasteride and dutasteride may
increase the risk for persistent erectile dysfunction.
Longer exposure to drugs
for treating hair loss and prostate
enlargement may increase the risk of erectile dysfunction; this could last for
many years in men, finds a new study from the Northwestern Medicine.
The research study was
published in the journal PeerJ.
‘Risk of persistent erectile dysfunction in men increases with long-term use of hair loss and prostate drugs like finasteride and dutasteride.’
is a common type of male
sexual dysfunction. Men may face difficulty in keeping the erection firm enough
to have intercourse, and affects the reproductive health.
While assessing the risk
factors for erectile dysfunction, prolonged exposure to drugs is linked to a
high risk for persistent erectile dysfunction.
The research study
provided strong evidence that exposure to finasteride or dutasteride may cause
sexual problems that may continue even after men stop taking the drugs.
Dr. Steven Belknap,
research assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg
School of Medicine, said, "Our study shows men who take finasteride
or dutasteride can get persistent erectile dysfunction, in which they will not
be able to have normal erections for months or years after stopping finasteride
He also added that, the
findings of the study which links the exposure of finasteride or dutasteride
drugs to persistent erectile dysfunction might benefit the prescribing physicians
and patients to consider treatment options for androgenic alopecia (hair loss)
or prostate enlargement.
Link Between Prolonged Exposure of Drugs and
Persistent Erectile Dysfunction
The research study was
conducted by evaluating the data obtained from 11,909 men for persistent
erectile dysfunction. The men who were evaluated were found to age between 16
years to 89 years old and also had at least one clinical encounter and one
diagnosis from January 1992 to September 2013.
The data was collected
from the Northwestern Medicine Electronic Data Warehouse, where electronic
medical record data is stored for patients of Northwestern Medicine.
Findings of the Study
- Out of the 11,909 men, 167 of them were found to
develop persistent erectile dysfunction that continued for about 1,348
days after discontinuing the drugs.
- Men under the age of 42 years and who had more than 205
days of finasteride or dutasteride exposure may have a 4.9-fold higher
risk of erectile dysfunction when compared to men without exposure.
These findings were
followed by a study published by Belknap in the 2015 JAMA Dermatology
The paper published the reports of the clinical trials which had insufficient
information on how to adequately find out the safety of using finasteride drug for
hair loss in men.
dutasteride drugs belong to a class of medications called 5-alpha reductase
inhibitors. These drugs are male hormone blockers.
They act by blocking the
conversion of the testosterone (male hormone) to its more active form (5-alpha
The drug is sold under
the brand name Propecia and Proscar. It is used for the treatment of
enlarged prostate gland
(a condition called as the Benign Prostatic
Finasteride drug is also
used for the treatment of male pattern hair loss
, by blocking the body's
production of a hormone in the scalp that stops hair growth.
Dutasteride is sold
under the brand name Avodart. It is used either alone or in combination along
with Tamsulosin to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.
The drug acts by
blocking the natural substance that enlarges the prostate gland and may reduce
the need for performing prostate surgery.
Side effects of
finasteride and dutasteride may lead to decreased sex drive, inability to
maintain erection and problems with ejaculation.
Facts on Erectile Dysfunction
- One out of ten men in the world suffer from erectile
- Erectile dysfunction is the main cause for 20% of
breakdown in relationships.
- Most of the men who have diabetes are prone to erectile
- There is a 50% higher chance of erectile dysfunction
among men who smoke.
- Around 10% to 20% of erectile dysfunction cases occur
due to psychological stress and anxiety in men.
- Steven Belknap et.al., 'Persistent erectile dysfunction in men exposed to the 5alpha-reductase inhibitors, finasteride, or dutasteride,' PeerJ (2017); DOI 10.7717/peerj.3020
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED) - (http://www.uwhealth.org/urology/erectile-dysfunction-ed/20537)
- Finasteride - (https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a698016.html)
- Dutasteride - (https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a603001.html)
- Statistics on Erectile Dysfunction - (http://www.healthcentre.org.uk/pharmacy/erectile-dysfunction-statistics.html)