Finasteride is an FDA-approved drug that is used topically to treat baldness and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).
Finasteride is available as two different brand-name drugs called Proscar and Propecia. Proscar is a stronger formula (5-milligram finasteride), and is used to treat BHP. Propecia (1-milligram finasteride) is used to treat male pattern hair loss.
Numerous clinical studies1 have linked finasteride to sexual dysfunction, including:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decrease libido
- Difficulty ejaculating
- Low sperm count
These side effects are infrequent. For example, studies have reported rates of erectile dysfunction among finasteride users of 2.1% to 3.8%. (These rates reflect newly reported problems, or problems in excess of men using a placebo.)
Patients who experienced problems due to finasteride recovered sexual function when they stopped using the drug.
In general, the risks of sexual side-effects are low, and can be remedied by discontinuing use.
- Mysore, Venkataram. “Finasteride and sexual side effects.” Indian Dermatology Online Journal. Jan-Apr 2012; 3(1): 62–65.