Q. I have been taking Avodart for several years for an enlarged prostate. For the last year and a half I have been suffering from depression.
I read that finasteride can cause depression. Since Avodart is similar to finasteride, I wonder if Avodart could be causing my depression.
I also have some sexual side effects, in particular low semen volume and lack of sensation during an orgasm. Is all this related to my medication?
A. Dutasteride (Avodart) and finasteride (Proscar) are prescribed for symptoms of enlarged prostate. Finasteride (Propecia) is also used to restore hair growth in male pattern baldness.
New research suggests that finasteride is linked to depression, even at the lower dose used to treat hair loss. The depression may last after the drug is discontinued (Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Sept. 2012).
Other complications include persistent sexual side effects such as low libido, erectile problems, reduced penis size and reduced sensation or pleasure during orgasm (Journal of Sexual Medicine, Nov. 2012). Dutasteride might cause similar side effects (Journal of Sexual Medicine, March, 2011). Perhaps the most troubling recent finding is that complications may last for months or even years after stopping the drugs.
One reader wrote:
“What a shocker! My hubby started on Avodart in 1995, and he was only 55. Shortly afterwards, he had no interest in sex at all. (But he wasn’t going to the bathroom so many times at night.) I thought it was me, and did everything I could to get him interested. But my efforts were to no avail. I wish I had heard about the sexual side effects of this drug many years ago, as I would have spoken with his doctor instead of giving up and switching to flannel pajamas.”