Baldness drug may curb interest in alcohol
Many men with receding hairlines who want to fight male-pattern baldness turn to a medication called finasteride, marketed as Propecia. However, the drug carries some unintended side effects – including, possibly, a decreased interest in alcohol. In a recent George Washington University study, two-thirds of men who took Propecia for baldness admitted to drinking less alcohol than before they started taking the drug. While this effect may not be found in all men, scientists sought to discover why it might happen.
For this study, researchers tracked 83 men aged 21 to 46 who were taking the Propecia for hair loss, but who said they were experiencing sexual side effects at least three months after they stopped taking the medication. Among the 63 men who reported drinking at least one alcoholic beverage a week before starting the drug, 65 percent said they cut back after taking it, 32 percent reported no change in drinking habits, and only three percent said they were drinking more. Eighteen men gave up drinking entirely. Many of the men reported a lower tolerance for alcohol, felt more anxious from drinking and recovered more slowly after imbibing.
While the research did not provide a specific explanation, the authors of the study suspect that Propecia's lingering effects may interfere with pathways in the brain. It is also believed that the medication may interfere with the brain's ability to make certain hormones, which are linked to alcohol consumption.