Drugs frequently prescribed to treat hair loss or an enlarge prostat may contribute to sexual dysfunction in men. Use of dutasteride (Avodart) and finasteride (Proscar and Propecia) have been linked to erectile dysfunction, depression and loss of libido in a review of existing studies.
Finasteride and dutasteride have been approved for treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms with marked clinical efficacy. Finasteride is also approved for treatment of hair loss (androgenic alopecia). Although the adverse effects of these agents are thought to be minimal, the magnitude of adverse effects on sexual function, gynaecomastia, depression, and quality of life remains ill-defined.
To look into the potential persistent side effects of Finasteride and dutasteride on sexual function among men, researchers searched the available medical literature for reports of sexual side effects associated with finasteride and dutasteride.
It was found that about 8 percent of men taking the drugs reported erectile dysfunction, and 4 percent reported reduced libido compared with 4 percent and almost 2 percent of men receiving placebo, respectively. Reduced ejaculation and semen volume and depression were also reported by some men.
The drugs – prescribed to treat a common urological condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and baldness – work by blocking the male hormone – androgen. In patients of BPH, this helps reduce the enlarged prostate, making urination easier.
The findings show that use of drugs used to treat hair loss and enlarged prostrate may lead to side effects on sexual function such as erectile dysfunction and diminished libido.