Hair-Growth Drug Could be Causing Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common disorder among ageing men but lately, younger men have been suffering from it too. Doctors are still trying to find out why younger men are now facing the ED problem.

A few suggestions have been mentioned a recent one being medication to deal with hair loss or an enlarged prostate. A study found that young men taking medication to treat hair loss or deal with an enlarged prostate could suffer from ED. The study also found that the consequent ED condition can persist way long after the patient stops taking the medication.

The study involved men under 42 years of age who took drugs for any of the two conditions for more than 205 days. The study found that these men were almost five times more likely to suffer from long-term ED than men who took the drug for less than 205 days.

Finasteride and Dutasteride

The study observed the effects of two drugs; finasteride and dutasteride. Finasteride is currently retailing as Propecia or Proscar. This medication affects how testosterone is made and is used to treat an enlarged prostate or for hair growth.

Dutasteride, the second drug in the study, currently sells under the brand name Avodart. The drug is used to reduce an enlarged prostate.

The lead researcher, Dr. Steven Belknap, based at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago said that the study linked the two drugs to debilitating sexual dysfunction. These findings should, therefore, be of particular interest to prescribers and patients as well.

The researcher noted that men taking finasteride or dutasteride may continue to have difficulties holding normal erections for extended periods after they stop taking the drugs.

The study which involved studying data of more than 12,000 men. The data was collected from medical records of patients who had received treatment at Northwestern Medicine centre. They focused on men who had been taking one the two drugs at least once from the year 1992 to 2013.

The study involved reviewing the dosage prescribed to the patients and the amount of time they took the medications. The researchers also reviewed cases of sexual dysfunction reported among the men in the study. The dysfunctions reviewed included erectile dysfunction, low libido, and persistent erectile dysfunction.

Prolonged Erectile Dysfunction Observed

The study found that 1.4% (167) of the men who took either of the two drugs developed ED that lasted for about three and a half to four years after they stopped taking medication. The researchers observed that the length of time that men between 16 and 42 years was a better factor in predicting the risk of prolonged ED than the dosage of the drugs as well as other medical conditions linked to ED such diabetes or hypertension.

Hair Loss Drug Not Safe

The researchers feel that there is not enough evidence in support of using finasteride as a safe drug to deal with hair loss in men.

Finasteride and Dutasteride block testosterone hormone from converting into 5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) the active form of testosterone. DHT is a contributing factor to baldness as it suppresses the chemical signal that fuels the growth of hair cells.

From the results of the study, it’s clear that these two drugs have a high chance of causing ED whose rates are going up by the day. Men who want to fight hair loss should probably find other ways to do so and avoid Finasteride and Dutasteride.

Source: PeerJ Journal