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Popular Hair Loss Drugs Linked to Long-term Sexual Problems

Mar 11, 2017 06:08 AM EST
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Men who have prolonged exposure to common hair loss drug were more likely to suffer from persistent erectile dysfunction than men with less exposure.
(Photo : Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

A new study from Northwestern University revealed that men who have prolonged exposure to common hair loss drug were more likely to suffer from persistent erectile dysfunction.

The study, published in the journal PeerJ, showed that the drugs that are considered as male hormone blockers could cause persistent erectile dysfunction that could lasts for months, or even years, after the last exposure.

"Our study shows men who take finasteride or dutasteride can get persistent erectile dysfunction, in which they will not be able to have normal erections for months or years after stopping finasteride or dutasteride," said Dr. Steven Belknap, a research assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead author of the study, in a press release.

Finasteride is marketed under the name Propecia and Proscar and is given to regrow hair or shrink prostate. On the other hand, dutasteride is marketed as Avodart and is given as treatment for enlarged prostate. Sometimes dutasteride is given in combination tamsulosin, under the name Jalyn.

For the study, the researchers analyzed the data 11,909 men taken from the Northwestern Medicine Electronic Data Warehouse, an electronic medical record data repository for patients of Northwestern Medicine.

Among the participants, 167 developed persistent erectile dysfunction. The researchers observed that men under 42 years old who had over 205 days of exposure to either finasteride or dutasteride were 4.9 times more likely to develop persistent erectile dysfunction, compared to men with shorter exposure.

Despite the relatively low prevalence of men developing persistent erectile dysfunction among the participants, only 1.4 percent, the researchers noted that the negative effects of the drugs could carry on for a very long time.

Men who developed persistent erectile dysfunction suffered from the condition for a median of 1,348 days, or more than three years, after their last intake of the drugs.

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