Men's Sexual Health

Scary Side Effects of Hair Loss Medication

Chris Regal Aug 17th, 2012 (updated Sep 18th, 2015)
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Skin irritation
Skin irritation

If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately: rash, itching or hives. Though it may not seem like a big deal, this could indicate an allergic reaction to the medication, which can increase in severity very quickly.  Call your doctor immediately.

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Facial swelling, difficulty breathing
Facial swelling, difficulty breathing

In the event that a patient is suffering from an allergic reaction to the medication, he may experience swelling of the lips or face and/or have difficulty breathing.  These are very serious side effects, as you may imagine, so, again, call your doctor immediately.

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Short-term sexual side effects
Short-term sexual side effects

Reduced libido, difficulty with orgasm, ejaculation problems, pain in the testicles, poor semen quality and increased infertility risk.  Not the sort of sound effects anyone wants to hear. But male baldness medications can include some heavy-duty hormones with side effects.  However, studies show that most patients have restored sexual functionality once they cease using the drugs.

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Decreased sexual drive
Decreased sexual drive

In April 2012, it was announced that both Propecia and Proscar will begin carrying a label warning of sexual side effects, including decreased libido.  This was ordered by the FDA, though the agency stresses that clear links between finasteride and sexual side effects have not been compellingly established.

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Long-term sexual side effects
Long-term sexual side effects

New evidence shows that sexual side effects do not always fade when you stop taking the drug.  A 2012 study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men – even young men – sometimes had sexual side effects that lasted more than three months after they stopped using the medication.  

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Depression
Depression

Finasteride also can cause depression.  Like the sexual side effects, the depression may go away by stopping usage. In some cases, the depression may not go away.  Men may also suffer from depression related to persistent sexual side effects.  In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 76 percent of men with long-term sexual side effects had depressive symptoms.

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Suicidal thoughts
Suicidal thoughts

Possibly the scariest of all side effects related to finasteride, men with persistent sexual side effects were more likely to have suicidal thoughts.  A whopping 44 percent of men with at least three months of sexual side effects experienced suicidal thoughts