Among side effects of finasteride there are the following:
- impotence (1,1 – 18,5%);
- excessive ejaculation (7,2%);
- decreased ejaculate volume (0,9 – 2,8%);
- impaired sexual function (2,5% );
- gynecomastia (2,2%);
- erectile dysfunction (1,3%);
- violation of ejaculation (1,2%);
- pain in testes.
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Unique Propecia pill, which has become a real salvation for men of different countries of the world, is a drug actively fighting with baldness in men and not only in them. However, Canadian Healthcare Mall would like to share some nuances that should be known to those wishing to use this drug.
How does Propecia Work?
First of all, this drug is designed for the so-called «male pattern baldness» or hereditary hair loss treatment. This type of baldness is found in about 95% of cases, and the drug works well with it. However, on the other hand, the pill is not designed to treat other forms of alopecia: for example, focal or hair loss, which was caused by a deficiency of certain nutrients in the body, since nature of these processes is completely different.
Originally scientists have created Propecia to treat an enlarged prostate. Subsequently, the drug was used in the fight against alopecia. The principle of its action is based primarily on the effect of chemical components of the drug on hormones – finasteride stops growth and increase of dihydrotestosterone hormone – a chemical substance that accumulates around hair follicles and is responsible for their reduction. An overabundance or lack of this hormone in the body leads to baldness. That is finasteride controls the normal release of dihydrotestosterone.
Merck, Sharp & Dohme is a very old and prestigious American pharmaceutical company, its employees created a new drug finasteride, which was registered in 1997. People who are prescribed it (1 pill per day) notice a marked decrease in adenoma. Pressure on urethra decreases, a lumen of urethra widens, becomes passable and, consequently, urination comes back to normal.
In Africa, a tribe was found, where boys acquired ordinary masculine traits after awkward age. This interested American doctors and researchers, they began to study this phenomenon and already in the process discovered another – in adult and elderly men of this tribe, there was no hint of an increased prostate. This is at a time when most men suffer from this disease worldwide. As a result, the study concluded that all men in the tribe have a genetic deficiency of the enzyme responsible for the conversion of testosterone (male hormone) to dihydrotestosterone, which as a result of complex biochemical processes affects proliferation of prostate tissue. It turns out that if this enzyme is «blocked», then it will not work. With this purpose finasteride substance was produced, which is distributed under the name Propecia. This drug promotes the reverse development of prostate gland. In patients without any surgical intervention, the process of urination is normalized. Even difficulties at the beginning of urination disappear or noticeably reduce, with complete elimination of feeling of «straining» and incomplete emptying of the bladder.
A «Scandinavian study» was conducted, the results of which were discussed by specialists at a symposium held in Moscow. This study was conducted in 59 medical centers in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, whose goal was to study people suffering from prostate adenoma for two years. One group was given placebo (dummy pill), the other – Propecia. The long-term effect of the drug on the size of the prostate gland, as well as on symptoms of the disease, was evaluated.
After promulgation of results, medication got interested medicals all over the world. In people who took a placebo, in two years the volume of prostate rose up to 11,5%. It turns out that disease developed naturally. People who received this drug learned about positive changes: adenoma decreased by about one fifth (19,2%). Naturally, overall well-being also improved. However, this was not noticed immediately, but starting from the 8th month of treatment, this is due to the fact that the drug is taken for a long time. Surgery was required for nine men who took a placebo, and none of those who received finasteride. Canadian Health &Care Mall notes the fact that adenoma disturbs elderly people, not all can survive surgery, it is associated with weak heart and lungs.
Termination of manifestations of side effects was observed both in men who interrupted treatment and in most men who continued. The manufacturer also reports cases of persistent erectile dysfunction, despite discontinuation of the drug. In December 2010, Merck added depression to the list of side effects of the drug. In November 1997, FDA refused to approve this drug for the treatment of male pattern baldness. Without questioning its effectiveness, members of the Committee expressed concerns about the likelihood of long-term adverse effect on sexual function and, quite likely, even on the ability to reproduce. This is due to data on reduction in ejaculate levels.
Despite official research, there is a website – propeciahelp.com, dedicated only to side effects of Propecia. It positions itself as an international organization of men who suffer from persistent sexual, psychic and physical side effects caused by finasteride used by men to treat baldness.
The main tasks of this organization are:
- provide support to members of the organization in fighting with these effects;
- collect knowledge to understand causes of these ailments and find ways to deal with them;
- dissemination of knowledge about little-known side effects, which may not disappear, despite discontinuation of the drug in the unidentified percentage of men.
You can trust doctors, clinical trials and even FDA, which talk about the safety of the drug. But one can also believe the experience of thousands of people who talk about very serious problems caused by taking finasteride, despite official statistics.
If you have a choice, to take this medication, or not, Canadian Health&Care Mall strongly advises you to get acquainted with information on this website, which is devoted only to persistent side effects. The website uses term «post-finasteride syndrome» – it is persistent sexual, mental and physical disorders that are caused by the drug, which can not be eliminated after withdrawing the drug.
In December 2008, Swedish Medical Products Agency conducted a study on the safety of finasteride. In its conclusion, it says that taking finasteride can lead to the development of irreversible sexual dysfunction. Safety information was updated, and a new possible side effect of the drug was added. The agency says about the occurrence of difficulties with erection, which will persist for an indefinite period, even for people who stopped using Propecia. The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) speaks of cases of erectile dysfunction that persisted even after termination of generic Propecia. Similar changes in marking were carried out by the Italian government. For some time, there was a discrepancy between European and North American warning signs about dangers of developing persistent sexual side effects when taking it. Despite this, two years later, in April 2011, Merck revised US warning for consumer and medical leaflets and included erectile dysfunction, which remains after its termination. In April 2012, FDA approved proposed by Merck label from 2011, after inclusion in the warning label reports on persistent disorders of libido, ejaculation disorders, orgasm disorders and decreased libido.
It was also established that Propecia promotes depressive and anxious behavior in animals. Clinical use of the drug was associated with depression and anxiety in men and women, it was described in several reports from medical literature. In one of the ongoing studies, a dosage of 1 mg per day caused depression (from moderate to severe) in 19 of 23 (83%) participants, including all female patients. In addition, sometimes noticeable anxiety accompanied the development of depressive symptoms. Another study, with a large sample size of 128 men (without women) who took Propecia at a dosage of 1 mg per day, showed that finasteride increases depression rates on Beck’s scale, as well as Hospital Depression Scale.
Experts concluded that patients with high risk of depression should administer finasteride with extreme caution. At the end of 2010 Merck decided to review information on the label in the United States and Canada, it included depression in the list of possible side effects. In August 2012, a study of 61 former users of Propecia with persistent sexual side effects showed that 75% of them had increased depressive symptoms compared to control group. Among men taking the drug, 36% had serious symptoms, 28% had moderate, and 11% had mild. In addition, 44% of men had suicidal thoughts. In control group of 29 men, 10% noted depressive symptoms, while all these cases were mild, and 3% reported the emergence of thoughts of suicide. It was concluded that Propecia can cause symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts in some individuals, but they persist even after discontinuation of treatment.
In December 2009, the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency updated recommendations on safety and potential risk of developing breast cancer in men. Canadian Pharmacy Mall came to conclusion that, in spite of the fact that in clinical trials of a dosage of 5 mg there was no significant increase in the total incidence of breast cancer in men, taking the drug cannot exclude such probability. A warning of this risk will be included in product information. Merck also revised warning on consumer and medical leaflets in the US, adding to it risk of developing breast cancer in men.FDA decided to add a warning to package that the drug can lead to the development of highly malignant prostate cancer. Although its impact on the risk of developing prostate cancer has not been established, evidence suggests that the drug may temporarily reduce growth and prevalence of benign prostate tumors, but it can also mask early signs of prostate cancer. The main problem is those patients in whom while taking finasteride observe the development of prostate cancer before benign prostatic hyperplasia, which can lead to delay in diagnosis and early treatment of prostate cancer, potentially increasing the risk of developing prostate cancer in these patients.
Prostate Cancer Prophylaxis Test of 2005 showed that at a dosage of 5 mg per day, recommended for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), participants using Propecia had 25% chance of developing prostate cancer at the end of the study compared to the group, taking a placebo. It can be mistakenly concluded that finasteride increases specificity and selectivity of prostate cancer detection while creating a visible increase in the risk of developing tumor with high indicators on Gleason scale.
Update of this study in 2008 suggests that finasteride reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer by 30%. In another study, reduction in prostate size caused by finasteride led to the detection of cancer beams and aggressive cells. Most of the men who participated in the study, with low and high prostate cancer values, decided to be treated, most of them had surgery to remove the prostate. Pathologist carefully analyzed each of these 500 prostates and compared types of cancer that were detected during surgery with diagnoses made after a biopsy. This study showed that Propecia does not increase the risk of developing highly malignant prostate cancer.