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

Study: Pupil size shows reliability of decisions

12 hours ago

Te precision with which people make decisions can be predicted by measuring pupil size before they are presented with any information about the decision, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational Bi ...

Single dose of antidepressant changes the brain

15 hours ago

A single dose of antidepressant is enough to produce dramatic changes in the functional architecture of the human brain. Brain scans taken of people before and after an acute dose of a commonly prescribed ...

User comments