After concerns were raised over the risk of serious psychiatric side effects of common hair loss medication, Propecia, researchers have recently carried out a study to learn more.
While they discovered 5a-reductase inhibitors (5ARIs) such as Propecia, did increase the risk of self-harm and depression, it did not increase the risk of suicide. It also revealed that the actual risk of developing these side effects was low, highlighting that the benefits of the drugs far outweighed the potential side effects.
So, is this good news for Propecia users?
Understanding the study
The study was conducted by a group of Canadian researchers from the Western University in Ontario. They analysed data from a staggering 93,000 men aged over 65. Each had started taking a 5ARI medication between the years 2003 and 2013.
Results showed within the first 18 months of starting the medication, 88% of patients had an increased risk of self-harm, while 94% had a risk of depression. Interestingly, the self-harm risk simply disappeared after those initial 18 months, whereas the risk of depression steadily increased. There was no risk of suicide found in the study.
Now, experts are suggesting doctors should make their patients aware of the risks during the consultation. They also recommend that follow up appointments are made to catch any psychiatric symptoms as early as possible.
Are these results good for Propecia users?
While the risk of depression and self-harm is high, very few patients actually experienced severe psychiatric symptoms. There’s been a lot of negative media attention on the nasty side effects of the drug. It wasn’t too long ago Trump hit the headlines for his use of Propecia and the potential side effects it brings.
What you need to think about before considering Propecia treatment, is the above aren’t the only potential negative side effects. It has also been linked to a loss of libido, problems with vision and impotency.
Are these side effects worth the potential results of the drug? Not when there are plenty of alternative, safer treatment options out there. Scalp micropigmentation for example, is one of the best alternatives you may want to consider.
Overall, while it’s great the study showed there was no increased risk of suicide, the fact it comes with a high risk of depression and self-harm isn’t good. It’s definitely worth looking into alternative treatment options if you are suffering from male pattern baldness.