Most medications come with side effects. Some side effects are minor and cause little to no problems, while others are arguably worse than the condition the medicine is supposed to be treating. For this reason, it’s important to speak to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any new medication.
When it comes to hair loss, finasteride has been a popular solution helping guys stop hair loss. And since you take finasteride once a day orally, hair loss prevention doesn’t mean making drastic changes to your daily routine. Furthermore, finasteride is so successful at fighting male pattern baldness that in at least one study it stopped hair loss in roughly 83% of the men who take it while even regrowing some hair for more than 66% of its users.
But does finasteride come with side effects? The answer is yes, but there’s a lot of misinformation surrounding finasteride and side effects. The truth is that finasteride does cause some side effects to a small portion of the people who take it, but the vast majority of men who use it benefit from a successful hair loss treatment without experiencing any undesired results. Let’s take a look at a couple of finasteride’s well-known side effects so that we can separate the fact from the fiction.
There’s a common misconception that taking finasteride will cause you to have sexual side effects, and that’s not necessarily true. While it is true that some people experienced side effects in the form of impotence, decreased libido, and ejaculatory dysfunction during 73 different clinical trials, it only affected 2.1% to 3.8% of people taking finasteride. Furthermore, for most patients, the onset of these side effects started early in the tests and tended to go away a couple of months later as the patients continued the treatment for the vast majority of men who noticed it. If you notice that it’s affecting your sex life, contact your doctor before continuing treatment.
Another myth about finasteride is that it causes cancer, which isn’t what the research shows. In fact, researchers have found that long-term use of finasteride may actually reduce the chances of prostate cancer. In a seven-year study posted in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers discovered that men ages 55 and older who took finasteride for seven years were less likely to develop prostate cancer. However, in the same study, researchers did find that a small number of men were at an increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer after taking finasteride – roughly 3.5% of the men who took it. While this is a small percentage, it’s still important to note that there is a slim chance that finasteride could increase the likelihood of prostate cancer or higher grade cancer in 3.5% of the men taking it. For this reason, it’s important that you take precautionary measures by talking to your doctor and scheduling routine check-ups.
The difference between finasteride and other drugs or unregulated hair loss medicines is that finasteride is well studied and only a small percentage of the population will experience side effects. There are other side effects you should know about as well - for example some people also report that finasteride makes them feel dizzy or weak, so make sure that you talk with your doctor and disclose any medical history before beginning finasteride. And if you experience any of the side effects, make sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine what the best plan of action should be.