Common Hair Growth and Prostate Enlargement Drugs and Their Adverse Effects

About 25 percent of men using Dutasteride or Finasteride for treating benign prostate enlargement do not show many visible improvements after taking them. Dutasteride goes by the brand name Avodart and Finasteride goes by the name Proscar in the pharmaceutical industry. People who are prescribed Avodart or Propecia for treating male pattern hair loss (also called alopecia) can also develop adverse effects due to the drug use.

These findings have been derived from a collaborative review done internationally.The study provides a summary of the data currently available and known to show the impact Finasteride and Dutasteride have on the sexual functioning along with insulin resistance, cognitive dysfunction, and depression.

Both Dutasteride and Finasteride belong to a class of medications called 5?-reductase inhibitors. Their action mechanism basically focuses on inhibiting the transformation of testosterone into 5?-dihydrotestosterone along with other types of critical steroid hormones. When the concentration of 5?-DHT reduces in the prostate gland, there is a decrease in the prostate volume, which helps in improving the urinary flow.

The Considerable amount of controversy persists with respect to the persistence and severity of the side effects caused by 5?-RIs. The clinical evidence has been able to show a strong correlation between the therapy and sexual side effects. Finasteride's package insert has also indicated libido loss and erectile dysfunction in about 10 percent and 18 percent of the patients respectively. Even if the therapy is discontinued, the effects may remain. The sexual side effects can be seen in the first six months of therapy, as per the researchers. The dysfunction's mechanism is multifactorial, related to a decrease in 5?-DHT along with an influence on the peripheral and central nerves.

Along with the sexual side effects observed in patients, certain investigations have been done for checking if 5?-RIs could have a positive role to play in the chemo-prevention of prostate cancer. The data received showed inconclusive results. Researchers also believe that cardiovascular side effects could result from the therapy, which warrants future investigation. Inhibiting 5?-R activity may have the potential of causing type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, osteoporosis, and vascular disease, but the study results haven't been able to prove it. The psychiatric side effects caused by the 5?-RIs are not severe. But in certain cases, there is an increase in the anxiety and depression symptoms among people who have used the medication.

Post-finasteride syndrome (PFS) was added to the Rare Diseases Information Center by the National Institutes of Health of the United States. Specific criteria for diagnosis still haven't been described for this spectrum disorder. Further studies need to be held for determining the relationship shared between the medication dose and long-term adverse effects.

The authors mention that increased awareness and education regarding the side effects is necessary for the patients and clinicians. A method should be devised in order to differentiate those who will benefit from the therapy and vice versa.