Finasteride is one of the primary medical treatments available for the condition known as male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia. It is available in tablet form by prescription only. However, this medication has some serious potential side effects of which men should be aware before they choose to take this drug.
Most of the finasteride side effects affect a man’s ability to perform sexually and/or ability to enjoy sex. A significant number of men have become impotent after taking this drug. North American product labels indicate that this is reversible after one stops taking the medication. However, several other countries are requiring changes to the product labeling due to clinical findings that this erectile dysfunction may be permanent, despite stopping the medication.
The medication can also have an impact on whether or not one is able to ejaculate and/or decrease the volume of ejaculations. This problem can become even more serious when coupled with a decreased libido and an inability to achieve an erection. Another possible effect is severe pain in the testicles.
Breast cancer is a problem that is incredibly rare in males. However, finasteride has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. A warning to this effect will be added to the product labeling in the UK.
This drug has been determined to be a cause of severe birth defects in male fetuses. It can be absorbed through the skin. Therefore, it should not even be handled by women who are of child bearing age. This is especially true if the tablets are crushed or broken. However, this is still possible with whole tablets. The drug can also pass into a man’s semen. The manufacturer has stated that this is not a problem that can affect a pregnant woman.
Finasteride has been banned by a large number of sports organizations due to its ability to mask steroids in tests. It was added to the World Anti-Doping agency‘s banned substances list in 2005.
This is a very effective medication for stopping hair loss and promoting new growth. However, the finasteride side effects are of a serious enough nature that men should be made aware of them before they get a prescription for this drug and begin taking it. Sexual side effects including abnormal ejaculation and/or erectile dysfunction or impotence have been reported. Some of these may be permanent effects that continue even after treatment has been stopped.
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