Tough Choice for Bald Men: Hair or Sex?

Those taking finasteride likely to experience long-lasting effects
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2011 5:56 PM CDT
Men on Finasteride Trade Baldness for Erectile Dysfunction
Grow more hair, or no more sex?   (Getty Images)

Tough news for the follicly challenged: Balding men taking finasteride, Merck's prescription drug that goes by the names Propecia and Proscar, may find they have trouble in bed—for a long while. Though the drug's label warns of "reversible" symptoms of sexual dysfunction, a small survey of 76 men under age 46 found the side effects lasted at least three months after they got off the drug, says a new study to be published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, as reported by Time.

The depressing list of lingering problems includes: erectile dysfunction (experienced by 92%), low sexual arousal (92%), and trouble climaxing (69%). They had taken finasteride for an average of 28 months, and experienced problems for an average of 40. Even more ominously, the lead researcher says, "Three months was the minimum, but some of these guys had sexual symptoms for years, some ... for five to 10 years after. These were young guys with no medical problems, no psychiatric problems, who happened to develop these side effects." The drug's label in the UK and Sweden warns of such long-lasting effects; not so in the US. (Click for more on baldness ... and mice.)

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