Researcher finds depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts in former finasteride users

New research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, finds that men who developed persistent sexual side effects while on finasteride (Propecia), a drug commonly used for male pattern hair loss, have a high prevalence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. The study, titled "Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Thoughts Among Former Users of Finasteride With Persistent Sexual Side Effects," was authored by Michael S. Irwig, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

For the study, Dr. Irwig administered standardized interviews to 61 men who were former users of finasteride with persistent sexual side effects for more than three months. The interview gathered demographic information, medical and psychiatric histories, and information on medication use, sexual function, and . All of the former finasteride users were otherwise healthy men with no baseline sexual dysfunction, medical conditions, psychiatric conditions or use of oral prescription medications. Dr. Irwig also conducted interviews with a control group of 29 men who had male pattern hair loss but who had never used finasteride and who denied any history of or use of psychiatric medications. Both groups self-administered the II (BDI-II), a widely used, validated instrument that measures the severity of depression in adults.

According to the total scores from the BDI-II, most former finasteride users exhibited some degree of depressive symptoms: 11% had mild symptoms; 28% had moderate symptoms; and 36% had severe symptoms. In addition, 44% reported suicidal thoughts. In the control group, 10%had mild depressive symptoms with no cases of moderate or severe symptoms, and 3% reported suicidal thoughts.

"The potential life-threatening side-effects associated with should prompt clinicians to have serious discussions with their patients. The preliminary findings of this study warrant further research." said Dr. Irwig.

More information: M. Irwig: Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Thoughts Among Former Users of Finasteride With Persistent Sexual Side Effects: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry; DOI: 10.4088/JCP.12m07887

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hair loss drug shows long-term sexual side effects

Jul 23, 2012

(HealthDay) -- For men with finasteride-associated side effects, sexual dysfunction may persist for months or years, even after discontinuation of the drug, according to a study published online July 12 in ...

Recommended for you

Lift weights, improve your memory

7 hours ago

Here's another reason why it's a good idea to hit the gym: it can improve memory. A new Georgia Institute of Technology study shows that an intense workout of as little as 20 minutes can enhance episodic ...

Fat chats: The good, the bad and the ugly comments

9 hours ago

Cyberbullying and hurtful 'fat jokes' are disturbingly prevalent in the social media environment, especially on Twitter, says Wen-ying Sylvia Chou of the National Institutes of Health in the US. Chou is lead ...

Omega-3 fatty acids may prevent some forms of depression

11 hours ago

Patients with increased inflammation, including those receiving cytokines for medical treatment, have a greatly increased risk of depression. For example, a 6-month treatment course of interferon-alpha therapy ...

User comments