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February 20, 2017 – Finasteride, is a medication used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (on the market as Proscar (5mg) since 1992 for this indication) and male pattern hair loss (on the market as Propecia (1mg) since 1997 for this indication). Finasteride is a type II and type III 5α-reductase inhibitor, 5α-reductase being an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
For quite some time now, there has been the discussion whether Finasteride (Propecia) causes long-term sexual dysfunction in some men after stopping drug treatment. There are case reports of persistent diminished libido or erectile dysfunction after stopping the drug and the FDA has updated the Finasteride (Propecia) label to inform people of these reports. A 2010 review found moderate quality evidence that Finasteride (Propecia) increased the risk of sexual dysfunction, but not that people stopped using it because of sexual side effects.
When Finasteride (Propecia) was originally approved for hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) in 1997, the FDA approval review reported that it appears well tolerated, with the most common side effects being related to sexual function. In many people these side effects would resolve if the medication was stopped and occasionally resolve even if the medication was continued.
But, apparently, there is more to it. One of the characteristics of Post Finasteride Syndrome (PFS) as we know it today is the presence of an unusual variety of symptoms that individuals experience individually or in combination and which might occur under the PFS: Decreased or absent libido, no or diminished response to sexual stimuli; impotence, difficulty in producing or maintaining an erection or sexual arousal, weak, delayed or absent orgasm, orgasm are less or not at all satisfying, reduced sensitivity of the penis, reduced sperm volume, penis shrinkage; Peyronie disease (warping of the penis), testicular pain, scrotal and numbness of the sacrum, gynecomastia; chronic fatigue / exhaustion, lustlessness, muscular atrophy (muscle weakness, muscle twitching), dry skin, memory disturbances, slowed thought processes, strong depression with suicide thoughts and completed suicides, anxiety disorders and panic attacks, emotional blunting (anhedonia), sleep disorders, headache, heavy sweating, and pain in the chest. Frequently, the symptoms persist and may even become worse after discontinuation of Finasteride (Propecia) therapy. To date, there is not a treatment as such for PFS; each of the symptoms has to be treated of its own.
Since a couple of years, there is the Post Finasteride Syndrome Foundation (PFSF) which is involved in research into PFS, in support of affected patients, and in the eduction of the public and rising the awareness for this condition which is rather devastating, if not fatal, for the individuals (i.e., mostly rather young men) affected. Particularly the issue of suicidal thoughts and completed suicides constitutes some kind of a fatally serious adverse drug reaction problem with Finasteride (Propecia).
Here, we would like to invite our readers to follow some video productions from around the world illustrating the thought and the apparent problem surrounding Finasteride (Propecia), and we would like these videos to speak for themselves.
We start out with a sad story from France:
We continue with a clinical overview and some explanations on Finasteride (Propecia):
Next we follow the destiny of an young man haunted by suicidal thoughts after Finasteride (Propecia):
We continue with an Emission on Spanish TV:
And we finish with an Emission in Belgium: