What Are the Side Effects of Finasteride?

24 Aug, 2022

Side Effects of Finasteride. Finasteride is a DHT-blocking prescription medication for treating male pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia. You might know better by its brand name Propecia.

There is a lot of gossip out there about this drug and its side effects. Being anxious about the side effects of Finasteride is completely fair, just like any other medicine. To make it simple for you, we did the research to sum up important facts below.

Finasteride’s side effects

Yes, like any other drug, there can be side effects and include:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty to urinate
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Runny nose
  • Feeling of discomfort in testicles
  • Allergic reaction like rash, itching, difficult breathing, and swelling of face, lips, or tongue
  • Sexual side effects (see the different section covered below)
  • Swollen or tender breasts. Fluids leaking from nipple

We must emphasise that while the list seems long, it varies from person to person and as we said, many people don’t get most or all of these symptoms. So take it with a pinch of salt.

Finasteride’s sexual side effects

Let’s just jump right into the elephant in the room i.e. erectile dysfunction. Or, more specifically, the fear that taking finasteride will lead to disruption in your sex life.

Though rare, in clinical trials, 3.8% of males noticed some type of sexual side effects (compared to 2.1% of patients using placebo), including less inclination for sex, difficulty to get an erection, or a decrease in semen released during sex.

The number to concentrate here is 3.8%, which is small percentage. Now, do not get us wrong – we do not intend to mean that we do not care about the 3.8% people who experience such symptoms – what we do say is that this isn’t a guaranteed side effect of consuming finasteride. So for 96%+ men, taking this very common hair loss medication doesn’t mean you must choose between sex life and hairline. On top of this is the fact that 2.1% of men using the placebo experienced the same side effects!

Now, you may still wonder what happens if you’re part of the unlucky set of 3.8% who do get these side effects. It is possible that you have heard about “Post-Finasteride Syndrome”, a non-medical term describing a variety of long-term side effects called out by a small number of men even after discontinuing Finasteride. The good news is that Hair Loss Experts say there’s hardly any scientific proof that Finasteride causes Post-Finasteride Syndrome, so lets keep this gossip out of the way.

Who should not Finasteride for sure

Regardless of above-mentioned side effects, some people must definitely avoid Finasteride. For women, taking Finasteride can affect hormone levels and therefore should be avoided. For pregnant or to-be pregnant women, it can lead to complications with pregnancy. Others with below conditions must also avoid Finasteride –

  • Kidney problems
  • Liver-related issues
  • Prostate cancer
  • Allergy to Finasteride
  • Breastfeeding

Please avoid excessive alcohol intake if you are on Finasteride. Finasteride can interfere with lab tests that screen for prostate cancer so let your doctor know before taking such a test.

Despite what you have heard, Finasteride does not cause prostate cancer. On the contrary, studies indicate that it can decrease your risk of getting prostate cancer – at higher doses, Finasteride is used as a treatment for enlarged prostates.

This being said, please take a decision that’s right for you. And to do that, we always recommend contacting your hair loss specialist if you have questions about Finasteride and its side effects.

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