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Am J Mens Health. 2018 Jan;12(1):90-95. doi: 10.1177/1557988316631624. Epub 2016 Feb 11.

Emotional Consequences of Finasteride: Fool's Gold.

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1 Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, New York, NY, USA.


Androgenetic alopecia, the gradual, progressive loss of hair frequently results in psychological despair, in part related to changes in self-image. Current androgenetic alopecia treatments are limited to hair transplantation and medications that inhibit dihydrotestosterone, a potent androgen associated with follicular micronization. Users of finasteride, which prevents dihydrotestosterone production, report serious physical and emotional adverse effects, collectively known as post-finasteride syndrome. Psychiatric illnesses and personality traits, specifically neuroticism influence emotional well-being. Limited research exists exploring the psychological corollaries of post-finasteride syndrome and preexisting Axis I and Axis II mental health conditions. The aim of this study was to explore how having a preexisting personal and/or familial history of a psychiatric diagnosis and certain personality traits may influence anxiety and depression among finasteride users. Participants in this online survey completed the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Ten-Item Personality Inventory. An important finding in this study was that almost 57% ( n = 97) of men reported a psychiatric diagnosis and 28% ( n = 27) had a first-degree relative with a mental health disorder, of this group 17 only had a family history. Nearly 50% of the men surveyed reported clinically significant depression as evidenced by Beck Depression Inventory score and 34% experienced anxiety on the Beck Anxiety Inventory. There were no statistically significant trends in personality traits reported. Results provide evidence on the need to screen for psychiatric history and counseling patients about the potential psychological consequences of finasteride. Prescribing clinicians should carefully weigh the risk/benefit ratio with these patients.


androgenetic alopecia; finasteride; post-finasteride syndrome

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