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Study Links Finasteride to ED and Higher Risk of Depression

Finasteride sold under the brand name Propecia / Photo by Raihana Asral via Shutterstock


A hair-loss medication and prostate-reducing drug, Finasteride, has been linked by a new study to erectile dysfunction, higher risk of depression, anger, and self-harm. Among the prominent users of the drug is US President Donald Trump who credits his orange mane to the drug.

The new study said the drug can also cause a lot of severe and uncomfortable side effects. The Western University in Ontario, in a research paper published in March 2017, said it has concrete evidence about the mental health risk associated with Finasteride which many physicians said it will hike the risk of suicidal tendencies.



Finasteride, according to another study made by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, discovered that many participants who took the drug became impotent for four years. It was originally developed to treat male urinary problems and belongs to 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, a class of medications, Zee News reported.

According to research, prostate glands shrink by reducing levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone among the participants. Hair growth is only an unexpected side effect of Finasteride that scientists discovered during clinical trials.

Following the discovery, the US Food and Drug Administration approved in 1997 the use of the steroid inhibitor for the treatment of male pattern baldness. It is sold under the brand name Propecia, taken once daily.

Millions of adult American males who have taken the pill said that it is 90 percent effective for treatment of male pattern baldness. The drug helped Trump keep his own hair, according to Harold Bornstein, the president’s physician.

Bornstein also takes Finasteride which he credits for keeping his shoulder-length hair, the Deccan Chronicle reported.



To reduce swelling of the prostate glands, Finasteride cuts the PSA levels. It is prescribed to men aged between 60 and 69 in doses between 4 and 5ng/ml. It is higher than the dosage given to young men because of the rise with age of PSA and testosterone levels. However, a lower dosage may be given if the male patient has prostate cancer or inflammation which causes more PSA to seep into the bloodstream.


Lack of Good Studies

Dr. Blayne Welk, the lead author of the study at Western University, noted the lack of good studies on Propecia which urologists commonly prescribe to patients. The researchers analyzed data from 93,197 men aged 66 years and older when they were prescribed for 5ARIs between 2003 and 2013 and another 93,197 males who were never prescribed 5ARI.



The team found that the men taking 5ARI were 94 percent at a higher risk of depression in the first 18 months. But after 18 months, the risk dipped to 22 percent. However, Welk stressed that the actual risk of depression and self-harm is very low.

Dr. Tina Kiguradze and Dr. William Temps, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, discovered that men who took 5ARI suffered from erectile dysfunction for 180 days. But even if they stopped taking the drug, the ED likely will last another 90 more days.


Hair Loss

The American Hair Loss Association estimated that up to two-thirds of males will experience some form of hair loss by the age of 35. There is no guaranteed method to grow the hair back, but because of minoxidil and Finasteride, hair loss is prevented, Esquire reported.


Photo by docent via Shutterstock


Meanwhile, after the results of Trump’s physical exam was released on Tuesday by the White House physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, there are some questions if the official weight of 239 pounds was not understated. Many Americans believe the president is more than 239 pounds.

Given the doubt about his real weight, James Gunn, the director of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” dared Trump to step on a scale in public in exchange for a $100,000 donation the director will make in favor of a charity that Trump will name.


The President’s Real Weight

After the physical exam, Jackson declared Trump to be in excellent health. However, he advised the president to exercise and improve his diet. The real estate billionaire is known for eating frequent meals from fast food chain McDonald’s.

With his official weight of 239 pounds and height of 6 feet 3 inches, Trump’s body mass index is 29.9 which mean, officially, the president is overweight. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute added that Trump is almost obese, Daily Mail reported.

There are questions if his height is correct because the New York driver’s license of Trump stated he stands 6’ 2”. It would give him a higher BMI and push him more into the official obese category.

Jackson also screened the president for diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The White House physician said Trump is cognitively sound. He added that he believes the president is mentally sharp and intact. Jackson said that Trump scored 30/30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test. He said at a televised briefing that he had no intention of giving the president a cognitive test, but it was Trump who reportedly requested a cognitive assessment.

[메디컬리포트=​Vittorio Hernandez 기자]

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