Hair Loss, Prostate Drugs Linked to Persistent Erectile Dysfunction

Baldness, hair loss, hair growth drug, enlarged prostate , erectile dysfunction, persistent erectile dysfunction
Adding to the woes of men losing their hair, new research suggests there is a new trouble brewing follicly challenged men who take hair growth drug to combat baldness. They found a link between hair loss and prostate drugs use and erectile dysfunction.

The research found that men who take drugs to regrow hair or shrink an enlarged prostate may experience an erectile dysfunction. More worryingly, the problem can persist long even after they stop taking these drugs, the new study showed.

Researchers at Northwestern University in the US found that taking the hair loss drug finasteride (Propecia) to help treat baldness or dutasteride (Avodart) to treat enlarged prostate could elevate men’s risk of persistent erectile dysfunction (PED).

Lead study author Dr. Steven Belknap, a research assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, remarks: “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 or dutasteride.”

For the study, the researchers assessed data on more than 12,000 men in the Northwestern Medicine Enterprise Data Warehouse and focused on men ages 16 to 89 who had been prescribed one of the prescription drugs – brand names Proscar, Propecia, Avodart and Jalyn – at least once from 1992 to 2013.

The researchers examined both the dosage of the drugs prescribed to men and the length of time they took the medications. They also surveyed the men about any of sexual dysfunction they have, including low libido, erectile dysfunction (ED) and persistent erectile dysfunction (PED).

The study findings showed, young men under age 42 took one of these prescription drugs – finasteride or dutasteride – for more than 205 days were 4.9 times more prone to contract long-term erectile dysfunction than those who took the drug for lesser days.

The research showed a 1.4 percent of the participants taking any of the aforementioned prescription experienced persistent erectile dysfunction for 1,348 days after stopping the medications.

These drugs work by inhibiting the conversion of the male hormone testosterone to its more active form, 5 alpha dihydrotestosterone. Finasteride, marketed under the brand names Proscar and Propecia among others, is prescribed to some men with benign prostatic hyperplasia or pattern hair loss. Dutasteride, sold under the brand name Avodart among others, is a medication prescribed to men with benign enlargement of the prostate.

The current study findings were published Thursday (March 9) in the journal PeerJ.