What Are the Side Effects of Propecia?

What are the side effects of using propecia over an extended period of time ? Some Dr's say it's fine and some say bad things about it . What are your views. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 3

Propecia® (finasteride) has been proven effective and can be very helpful for individuals experiencing hair loss, there

Although Propecia® (finasteride) has been proven effective and can be very helpful for individuals experiencing hair loss, there are potential side effects.  Propecia® is an FDA approved oral medication prescribed for treating male pattern baldness. In previous studies, Propecia® has exhibited a high safety margin, with less than 2% of patients showing signs of side effects. Though uncommon, most of the side effects reported with Propecia® use were sexual in nature with decreased libido and poor erections as the main problems.  In the patients I treat I have had no patients whose problems did not disappear with the stopping of the medication.  Propecia is only 1mg of finasteride while Proscar is 5mg of the same medication.  This medication was used and is still used by men who have enlarged prostate glands.  Whenever a person reported any sexual problems I would always advise discontinuation of the medication and when all was back to normal I recommend the same medication in a topical compounded formula. This solution seemed to stop further loss and at the same time the patients did not have the side effects seen with the oral form of this medication. In addition particularly in the older patient  who was having any sexual problem I would suggest evaluation of the free and total testosterone.  It was always surprising how many patients did not know that they had unsafe low levels of testosterone  Cardiovascular problems have now been associated with abnormally low testosterone (below 550 total test).   It’s important to discuss your personal and family medical history with an experienced hair loss specialist how Propecia® or any other hair loss medication may affect you.

Atlanta Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

The Court is Still Out On Propecia's Sexual Side Effects But There Is Cause For Concern

While the studies indicate less than 2 percent of men experience the sexual side effects, it has been my experience that the numbers are much higher.  They are difficult to document however, because it's not always clear if the impotency issues are psychological.  But in addition to recent class action lawsuits related to side effects, there are also other concerns about Finasteride patients suffering from higher grade prostate carcinoma.  So, you're dealing with a few different issues to consider.  My advice is to explore all of your other options while considering Finasteride.

John E. Frank, MD
New York Hair Restoration Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Side Effects of Propecia

In order to avoid litigation, Merck has added certain side effects/health risks to its safety data sheet for Propecia. These include skin rash, lip swelling, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, gynecomastia, depression, and prostate cancer. While people have reported these adverse events in relation to Propecia, the number of incidence is marginal in comparison to those who use the drug without problems. Many doctors recommend Propecia, and there is no way to know in advance if you will have an adverse reaction. You have to weigh out the potential risks and benefits for yourself.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.