Q. Doctors rarely if ever tell patients about sexual side effects of medication. A case in point is the prostate shrinking medication finasteride.
This is how it works on your sex life over a period of time. It’s like attaching two wires to your sex drive with the other end of the wires attached to a dimmer switch. Someone is holding the dimmer switch and slowly pushing the lever down. The effect is so gradual you don’t feel anything until one day you realize the lights have gone out and there is no way to turn them on again.
So take your choice, a slowly growing prostate or a slowly diminishing sex life.
A. Your description is unusual, but finasteride is associated with sexual dysfunction even in men treated at the lower dose used for hair loss (Journal of Sexual Medicine, March, 2011; Journal of Sexual Medicine, June, 2011).
Unfortunately, this adverse consequence of the drug sometimes lasts long after the medicine has been discontinued (Journal of Urology, online Dec. 16, 2013). A similar prostate pill, dutasteride, is also known to cause sexual side effects. One study found little difference between the two drugs and placebo treatments (Journal of Dermatological Treatment, April, 2014).
Finasteride is used to shrink an enlarged prostate that is causing symptoms. Some other medications such as terazosin or doxazosin may also be helpful in alleviating urinary difficulties. Men concerned about prostate cancer won’t want to miss our one-hour radio show on exciting advances in treating this condition.