Background: Finasteride is widely used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and androgenic alopecia (AGA). Post-finasteride syndrome (PFS) is a spectrum of persistent symptoms reported by some patients after treatment with finasteride for androgenetic alopecia. These patients show many abnormal clinical manifestations, including psychological disorders (depression and anxiety, among others) and sexual dysfunction. However, there is insufficient research on the persistent severe side effects in young male patients with PFS, and the underlying mechanism of PFS has not been fully elucidated. Growing evidence highlights the relevance of genetic variants and their associated responses to drugs. Therefore, we performed next-generation sequencing (NGS) in our study of PFS.
Case description: Here, we enrolled three young male patients aged 20-30 years with a PFS duration of 1-3 years and analyzed their clinical and genetic information. PFS patients suffered from erectile dysfunction (ED), anxiety, feelings of isolation, and insomnia. Variants in genes, including CA8, VSIG10L2, HLA-B, KRT38 and HLA-DRB1, were detected, and these genes represent potential risk genes.
Conclusions: PFS, commonly observed in young men, has certain clinical manifestations, mainly psychological disorders and abnormal sexual functions. Young men who may take finasteride therapy for hair loss should receive consultation services and be informed of possible future harms. Psychological screening is an important method to reduce the occurrence of PFS. At present, the underlying mechanism of PFS is not very clear, and more research is needed to improve the understanding of the disease. Some genes are abnormal in PFS patients, suggesting that clinical and genetic evaluation might be needed before the prescription of 5α-reductase inhibitors. With research progress, genetic screening may be a promising way to avoid the harmful effects of finasteride in people with related genetic risk factors.
Keywords: Androgenic alopecia (AGA); case report; depression; post-finasteride syndrome (PFS); sexual dysfunction.
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