The Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists (www.CanadianHair.ca), a Toronto-based organization offering hair loss treatment for over 25 years, is commenting on a recent report about the side effects of the hair loss drug Propecia.
Propecia, which is a brand-name version of finasteride, is a prescription medication that is used for balding, allowing for some regrowth of hair. However, a recent report in the Daily Express is shedding light on the potential side effects of this drug, which include impotence and sexual dysfunction. (Source: Thistlethwaite, F., “Would you choose hair over sex: This baldness CURE could leave you frustrated in bed,” Daily Express, February 25, 2016; https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/647021/Baldness-cure-impotence-Propecia-drug-hair-loss.)
“With any medication, there can be side effects,” says Ken Robson, founder of the Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists. “The sexual side effects of finasteride are well known at this point. It’s something men have to consider if they are thinking about using this treatment.”
According to a hair expert quoted in the Daily Express report, Propecia can cause sexual dysfunction in a certain subset of users. Roughly two percent of men taking the drug will experience these side effects, which can include erectile dysfunction and impotence.
“Most men won’t experience the side effects, but a significant amount does have them,” says Robson. “There are a lot of men who feel like they would do anything to not go bald, but most men don’t want to choose between being bald and being impotent. Finasteride has to be taken on a regular basis to be effective, so these side effects are a big concern.”
There have also been reports that the side effects of Propecia can be permanent and persist even after tapering off the drug. One man quoted in the article said that he went completely impotent and his testicles shrunk after taking the drug. Even after being off the drug for a year, he says that the side effects have not gone away.
“There have definitely been reports that the side effects can be permanent,” says Robson. “There needs to be more research on this before we can say anything definitely. We can say that when you stop the drug, it is expected that the side effects will go away, but some people say they have permanent side effects.”
Propecia works by blocking the production of the hormone DHT in the hair follicle, which prevents the process of balding. The treatment can not only stop the balding process, but also help with regrowth of hair.
“It’s effective, which is why some men may be inclined to go for it, but there are other treatments available that are just as effective,” says Robson. “If you have significant balding, then a hair transplant is a one-time procedure that can give you a full head of permanent hair. With finasteride, you have to keep taking the medication to see any effect.”
Robson says that men need to look at the pros and cons of available treatment options before they make a decision.
“There are now more hair loss treatments than ever before,” says Robson. “If men are worried about medication, there are shampoos, topical treatments, hair transplants, and a wide range of other possible options to choose from. With the right regimen, most men can expect to stop their hair loss.”
The Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists is the leading provider of treatment for hair loss in men. They offer clients a number of options ranging from hair transplant surgery to realistic hair systems. More information can be found at www.CanadianHair.ca.