Impotence and Suicidal Thoughts – Propecia Side Effects You Should Know About

What are the side effects of propecia?

Propecia is a common hair loss medication containing the drug finasteride, but it’s success may come with a price. Merck, the pharmaceutical company which developed finasteride, has been accused of downplaying some scary side effects. The company has also claimed these negative effects would be reversed after ceasing to use the medication, something that’s turned out not to be the case for everyone.

What Merck Didn’t Want You to Know

In 2015, researchers published a study revealing that using finasteride triples the risk of becoming impotent, even if on low doses. Finasteride also increases the likelihood of needing prescriptions for sexual-performance medications by almost fivefold. Some of Propecia’s side effects include erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorders, swelling of the hands and feet, skin rashes and dizziness. But it can also affect the user’s mental state, causing depression and suicidal thoughts.

Merck has been the target of some 1,400 lawsuits—some of which were presented in court during the fall of 2016. A New York judge selected the most outstanding of those cases to represent the larger group. According to the World Health Organization, another 69 men have committed suicide as a consequence of using the drug. So it seems this medication could not only render you impotent but also make you want to end your life. While it’s true that these side-effects don’t happen to the majority of users—are the risks worth it?

Side effects of using propecia
One of Propecia’s side-effects includes mental changes, caused by a decrease in the production of DHT, upsetting the production of other hormones in the brain.

Propecia Side Effects—the Study

Scientists aren’t completely sure how Propecia side effects arise but they have something to do with the enzyme type II 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone into its most active form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

DHT is a strong contributing factor to male pattern baldness and also can lead to enlargement of the prostate. Finasteride works by diminishing DHT levels in the body. At first the drug was only used as a treatment for prostate cancer until it was discovered that it also had a positive effect on patients’ hair growth, Propecia was developed and marketed specifically for that purpose.

However, some men experience severe side effects. In a 2015 study of 4900 men taking finasteride, 577 of them reported persistent sexual dysfunction. Thirty-nine experienced suicidal tendencies.

New Information

According to new research, mental changes while taking Propecia are a result of the decrease in the production of DHT, which disrupts the production of other hormones in the brain. According to New York neuroendocrinologist Alan Jacobs, the drug can lead to hormones like cortisol and progesterone turning into “neurosteroids” which have important behavioral purposes. This could lead the brain to exacerbate sexual problems and cause the user to become depressed or suicidal.

As early as 2012, patients began reporting serious side effects from Propecia. That lead Merck to finally start including on the label that “in some cases” the sexual side effects “continued after discontinuation of treatment.” The company also added depression as a potential side effect on the label. Interestingly, by this time, Propecia labels had already been changed in Sweden and some other European countries. Patients there started reporting persistent side effects as early as 2008. But for U.S. male patients, Merck waited until the FDA had received 421 reports of sexual dysfunction before they updated their labels.

What’s in store for Merck and Propecia use as a result of these lawsuits is yet to be seen. Ted Laszlo, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, thinks the possibility that Propecia will be discontinued is low. The plaintiffs are only seeking monetary damages and he believes their case is strong.

“Merck introduced a drug that they knew could cause sexual dysfunction in users, and they soon learned that in some users the symptoms did not resolve,” he says in an interview in Vice. “With that knowledge, they continued to market the drug for years saying that if you stopped using it, the symptoms would go away. They hid their knowledge.”

Testosterone and Hair Loss – Why It Is Important To Get Diagnosed

Testosterone and Hair Loss – Why It Is Important To Get Diagnosed

Testosterone and hair loss often coexists. There is some good news: testosterone can be a good thing. It makes us self-confident, vibrant and gets us in the mood. The bad? Too much could make your life miserable and anxious, triggering an abundance of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin. We might seek out comfort foods, causing weight gain, lethargy and an increase in even more hormones. But elevated hormone levels can also be a symptom of a more serious disease, so it’s important to see a physician if this might be the case.

What Causes Hair Loss and How to Help Fight It

There is not only one thing causing hair loss – more often than not, it is caused by many different factors, some simultaneously. Examples can be aging, hormone imbalance, stress, vitamin deficiency or poor scalp circulation.

Since hair loss is typically multi-factorial, it only stands to reason that it would be beneficial to address it with many synergistically working ingredients.

The ingredients in Nutrafol include vitamins and minerals, but also natural adaptogens and substances like saw palmetto that inhibit the production of DHT (we’ll talk about that more later). Nutrafol also contains botanicals, antioxidants. Below we will go through some common diagnoses that can lead to increased levels of testosterone and hair loss.

Testosterone and Hair Loss
Testosterone can be a good thing but too much might your life miserable.

5 Times When Skyrocketing Testosterone can Lead to Hair Loss

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): 5 to 10 percent of American women are affected by this hormonal-endocrine disorder. It is often hard to diagnose because of the abundance of symptoms. Women with PCOS produce excessive testosterone, leading to hair loss on the head, but increased hair growth on the face or other body parts. Very often, these women become overweight or obese and also experience acne. Early detection is crucial since it can also lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Adrenal Disease: When someone lacks a specific enzyme called enzyme 21-hydroxylase, their body cannot secrete enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. The very sensitive balance of hormones in the body is then disrupted. When the adrenal senses low levels of cortisone it starts flooding the body with other hormones, which can result in an excess of androgens, or male steroid hormones. This leads to disrupted hair growth, among other things.

Hyperthyroidism: This thyroid disease leads to elevated levels of testosterone in both men and women. The thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine and speeds up the body’s metabolism. This leads to weight loss, rapid heartbeats, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and more. And consequently, increased testosterone and hair loss.

Male pattern baldness: While it is not testosterone per se that bald men have too much of, it IS a sensitivity to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Cells in the scalp convert the testosterone to DHT, which some hair follicles are more sensitive to and therefore shrink until they become non-existent.

It’s important to note is that a genetic predisposition does not mean that you absolutely will experience the same things that seem to run in the family. However, your body is likely more sensitive to a specific hormone or substance, in this case DHT.

Menopause: Many women experience the sharp drop in estrogen and progesterone and an increase in testosterone during menopause, which is an inevitable part of aging.

Hair Follicles – Very Sensitive to Inner and Outer Factors

Almost anything can disrupt our hair follicles. Internal triggers can be hormone imbalances, stress, vitamin deficiency, illness, medications or genes. External ones are for example pollution, over-styling and chemicals.

Even though higher levels of testosterone and hair loss are unavoidable during some stages in life, it does not need to be now. Natural supplements can help restore hormone levels in the body and promote a healthier scalp. That is why it’s beneficial to understand the science behind improved hair health.