Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Sex No Longer Pleasurable

Q. Has anyone here heard of the prostate and hair loss drug PROPECIA OR FINASTERIDE?

It has ruined many lives because of long-term sexual side effects, myself included. Only now, after men have been suffering from all sorts of problems from this drug, are some doctors starting to figure out what has gone wrong. I would love to see more awareness of finasteride side effects.

A. It has taken many years to learn about the complications of drugs like finasteride (Proscar, Propecia) and dutasteride (Avodart). Here are some stories we have received:

“I am taking finasteride. I am experiencing all the kinds of side effects; ED, loss of libido, and enlarged breasts. Will a testosterone supplement interfere with the drug’s purpose?”

It might. Finasteride blocks a metabolite of testosterone; taking testosterone could overwhelm the effect of the drug on the prostate as well as in other areas.

“I started taking Avodart a few months ago and after only a few days I thought this is great, I can sleep all night without getting up to use the bathroom and I thought NO SIDE EFFECTS. After about 4 to 6 weeks, I had no sex drive at all, not even sexual feelings for my wife. I stopped taking Avodart and a few weeks later my sex life was back. I went back to saw palmetto. I would rather get up 2 times a night and still have a sex life. I am 67 years old.”

The most surprising recent discovery about such drugs is that the sexual side effects may last for years if not indefinitely. The study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (online, July 12, 2012) suggests that some men may suffer long-lasting complications even after quitting finasteride. And this complication may affect young men as well as older gentlemen. Here are some of the complaints:

  • Lowered sex Drive
  • Reduced arousal
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Impaired sensation
  • Less satisfaction with orgasm, inability to achieve orgasm
  • Reduced ejaculate
  • Penis curvature
  • Decreased testicular size, reduced penis size
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Not everyone experiences problems, however. One woman wrote:

“My husband started taking this medicine at age 78 – he is now 88. He has an excellent sex drive with complete functionality. We have intercourse to ejaculation a couple of times a week, in addition to oral sex to climax.

“So, after ten years of taking this medicine, he has a beautiful head of hair which helps avoid skin cancer and he has had no adverse reactions.

“Perhaps younger men have estrogen exposures or food/beverage/lifestyle behaviors which might change the metabolism of the Propecia?

“Maybe some men were more ‘feminine’ hormonally prior to beginning Propecia, and the medicine simply enhanced what was already happening.”

Let us know your experience with finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) or dutasteride (Avodart) in a comment below.

Rate this article
4.4- 34 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.