Persistent sexual, emotional, and cognitive impairment post-finasteride: a survey of men reporting symptoms

Am J Mens Health. 2015 May;9(3):222-8. doi: 10.1177/1557988314538445. Epub 2014 Jun 13.


Finasteride is a synthetic 5-α reductase inhibitor, which prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone and has been used for more than 20 years in the treatment of male pattern hair loss. Randomized, controlled trials have associated finasteride with both reversible and persistent adverse effects. In this pilot study, we sought to characterize sexual and nonsexual adverse effects that men reported experiencing at least 3 months after stopping the medication. Based on previous research on persistent side effects of finasteride, we constructed an Internet survey targeting six domains: physical symptoms, sexual libido, ejaculatory disorders, disorders of the penis and testes, cognitive symptoms, and psychological symptoms and was e-mailed to patients who reported experiencing symptoms of side effects of finasteride. Responses from 131 generally healthy men (mean age, 24 years) who had taken finasteride for male pattern hair loss was included in the analysis. The most notable finding was that adverse effects persisted in each of the domains, indicating the possible presence of a "post-finasteride syndrome."

Keywords: andrology; behavioral research; cognitive performance; erectile dysfunction; sexual health.

MeSH terms

  • 5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • 5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / chemically induced*
  • Alopecia / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Finasteride / administration & dosage
  • Finasteride / adverse effects*
  • Finasteride / therapeutic use
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Long Term Adverse Effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / chemically induced*
  • Young Adult


  • 5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors
  • Finasteride