Warning: Your Hair Loss Rx is a Sexual Side Effect Nightmare

Did you know that hair loss therapy could cause permanent sexual dysfunction?

Oral finasteride can lead to Post Finasteride Syndrome. Oral finasteride causes erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction, decreased libido, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Symptoms can be permanent.

Perhaps oral finasteride users don’t know about the therapy that prevents hair loss and regrows hair with no side effects. Red light therapy works as well as oral finasteride, with virtually no side effects.

Oral Finasteride is an FDA Approved Hair Loss Treatment from Hell

I don’t know about you, but I used to believe the FDA’s job was to protect the consumer.

The FDA approved the use of oral finasteride as an effective hair loss treatment in 1984.

You probably know finasteride by its trade name “Propecia.”

The drug works best on men at preventing hair loss and at stimulating about a 30% effective hair regrowth.

Several studies support using finasteride to stop hair loss and to regrow hair[1]Opens in a new tab.

Finasteride/Propecia has almost no short-term side effects.

In the long-term, however, finasteride can cause erectile dysfunction, inability to ejaculate, loss of sexual desire, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

And yes, the depression and suicidal thoughts are a direct result of the sexual dysfunction finasteride causes.

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Depression over lost sexual function leading to suicidal thoughts is a real side effect of oral finasteride/Propecia.
Depression over lost sexual function leading to suicidal thoughts is a real side effect of oral finasteride/Propecia.

If this is not bad enough, it does get worse.

Sometimes, in some people, the symptoms do not go away, even after stopping the drug.

In some people, the sexual symptoms are permanent.

It makes me question how this therapy is even legal, much less OK’d by the world’s largest health agency.

As a red light therapy expert, I’m able to guide people to red light therapy hair regrowth devices that have no side effects.

Plus, these red light devices work as well as oral finasteride. Using them causes no side effects.

I can’t imagine why one would choose finasteride over red light therapy.

A red light therapy cap for hair growth
A red light therapy cap for hair growth

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What is Finasteride?

While you might not have heard of finasteride, you probably have heard of Propecia hair loss therapy.

The FDA approves of Procecia’s use for:

Finasteride/Propecia treats male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia.

It is 80% effective in white men, less so in women and in other ethnic groups.

Propecia is an antiandrogen. It decreases production of DHT, a hormone that causes hair loss.

As of 2019, Propecia and its generic varieties were the 86th most prescribed drugs.

Finasteride and minoxidil are the only FDA-approved hair loss oral drugs.

Another drug that is not FDA approved is more effective than finasteride. Dutasteride (known as Avodart on the market) grows more hair and has proportionately worse side effects than finasteride.

What are Finasteride Side Effects?

Finasteride can cause potentially permanent side effects including:

 


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Are There Any SAFE Hair Loss/Hair Growth Therapies?

For safe and effective hair growth therapy, see my article: Hair Loss Sucks. How Light Can Help, According to ScienceOpens in a new tab.

A “hair loss” therapy slows or prevents future hair loss.

A “hair growth” therapy improves future hair growth.

Finasteride is a hair loss therapy with about a 30% ability to restart hair growth.

Whether you are trying to stop hair loss or start hair growth, the goal is to have a healthy head of hair.

Is your hair therapy so effective that you’re willing to trade your sexual health for the hair it will help you grow?

I hope the irony of this is not lost on anyone.

Many men opt for hair therapy to maintain sexual attractiveness.

Finasteride gives them back their hair but robs them of their sexual function.

I’ve seen stories about deals with the devil that were less O. Henry than this crime against humanity.

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Sexy man
“The same pill that made me this sexy also broke my junk.”

Which Hair Loss Treatments are Effective?

An article in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology details the effectiveness of the hair regrowth remedies available, based on science. The study was published in 2021[5]Opens in a new tab.

Platelet rich plasma injection for hair growth
Platelet rich plasma injection for hair growth

How well do these therapies work, and what are the tradeoffs of each one?

The researchers detailed the effectiveness, side effects and costs associated with the hair regrowth therapies listed below:

The authors searched for evidence of how well each therapy works.

They assigned “weak” confidence in therapies with only case reviews to support them.

They gave non-placebo-controlled clinical trials a score of moderate confidence.

They assigned strong confidence to those therapies with randomized, placebo-controlled trials backing their use.

Notice the “oral finasteride” row below? The researchers assigned strong confidence in how well the therapy grows hair.

Hair regrowth therapies with the best studies support their use, according to science, are:

Table: Evidence Supporting Topical Hair Growth Remedies, According to Science

Hair Growth TherapyEvidence Supporting its Use
topical minoxidilstrong
topical finasterideweak
oral dutasterideweak

 

Table: Evidence Supporting Oral Hair Growth Remedies, According to Science

Hair Growth TherapyEvidence Supporting its Use
oral finasteridestrong
oral minoxidilmoderate

 

Table: Evidence Supporting Hormonal Hair Growth Remedies, According to Science

Hair Growth TherapyEvidence Supporting its Use
spironolactoneweak but strong clinical use
flutamide & bicalutamideweak
cyproterone acetatenot stated
platelet-rich plasmastrong
exosomesmoderate
microneedlingweak to moderate
Synergen Complexmoderate
Marine complexmoderate
Serenoa repensweak
rosemary oil, tea tree oil, pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil, castor oil and alma oilweak

 

Table: Evidence Supporting Light Therapy Hair Regrowth, According to Science

Hair Growth TherapyEvidence Supporting its Use
light devicesstrong

 

Table: Evidence Supporting Transplantation Hair Regrowth, According to Science

Hair Growth TherapyEvidence Supporting its Use
hair transplantationstrong

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Which Hair Growth Therapies are Safe

The researchers then described the short-term and long-term side effects of most items on the list.

Two therapies have no short-term side effects.

Ironically, one is oral finasteride.

Unsurprisingly, the other is red light therapy.

Table: Hair Regrowth Therapy Short Term Side Effects

Hair Growth TherapyLikelihood of Happening/Short-Term Side Effects
topical minoxidilunlikely: scalp irritation, allergic contact dermatitis, itchiness, excessive facial hair (in men and women)
topical finasterideunlikely: red skin, contact dermatitis, increased liver enzymes, night peeing, testicular pain, feeling faint, and back of mouth/throat pain
oral finasteridenone listed in this study but drugs.com lists “breast cancer” as a known side effect[6]Opens in a new tab.
oral minoxidilunlikely: irritant dermatitis, allergic dermatitis, itchiness, irritation, excessive facial hair
spironolactoneunlikely: electrolyte imbalance, liver damage and low blood pressure
flutamide & bicalutamidenot stated: black box warning for liver damage, raised liver enzymes, swollen legs, gastrointestinal discomfort
cyproterone acetatenot stated: weight gain, breast tenderness, and decreased libido
platelet-rich plasmaunlikely: scalp pain; people with bleeding disorders, autoimmune disease,  infection, or who are taking anti coagulation drugs should not accept platelet rich plasma injections.
exosomesunlikely: scalp pain
microneedlingUnlikely: scalp pain, bruising, inflammation, is “often painful.”
Synergen Complexpossible allergic reaction
Marine complexunlikely: stiff joints, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, allergy
Serenoa repensgastrointestinal discomfort, reduced PSA (prostate cancer indicator), i.e., causes false negative prostate cancer labs
light devicesnone
hair transplantationnot stated: infection, scarring, pain, itching, swelling, bleeding

Now, here is the fun. Wanna see something really scary? Here are the long-term side effects of hair regrowth therapies.

Oral finasteride is a nightmare dumpster fire of side effects.

Authors noted that oral dutasteride has a more severe profile than finasteride! Because it’s not as popular, it doesn’t hurt as many people.

Guess which therapy has no short term or long-term side effects.

That’s right.

Red light regrows hair with no short term or long-term side effects.

How to view these devices:
To view the devices mentioned in this article, click to go to the product list:

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Table: Hair Regrowth Therapy Long Term Side Effects

Hair Growth TherapyLong-Term Side Effects
topical minoxidilunlikely: dizziness, cardiac arrhythmia
topical finasterideunlikely: [specifics not listed]
oral dutasteridemore likely than oral finasteride: A worse version of Post-Finasteride Syndrome
oral finasterideLikelihood not stated: Post-Finasteride Syndrome, including low blood pressure, dizziness, erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, decreased libido all possibly permanent, as well as possible decreased fertility in men.

Depression — including thoughts of suicide — because of sexual dysfunction is called Post-Finasteride Syndrome (PFS). The depression is also sometimes permanent.

oral minoxidilUnlikely: “Rare, unless patients with cardiovascular comorbidities. Weight gain”
spironolactoneUnlikely: “Rare, unless patients with renal failure.”
flutamide & bicalutamidelikelihood not stated: black box warning of liver failure
cyproterone acetatenone
platelet-rich plasmanone
exosomesnone
microneedlingnone
Synergen Complexnone
Marine complexnone
Serenoa repensnone
rosemary oil, tea tree oil, pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil, castor oil and alma oilnone
light devicesnone
hair transplantationnone

But scanning the literature for this information can easily lead to the false conclusion that oral finasteride is safe.

In my research, I found studies that:


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Which Therapies are Safe AND Effective?

We know from the effectiveness studies that the following hair therapies save and restore hair.

These therapies grow hair but are not necessarily safe:

Topical minoxidil can cause dermatitis and itching. The worst effect is probably facial hair in women. Unfortunately, long term, topical minoxidil causes dizziness and cardiac arrhythmia. Whether that bet is worth taking might be another story.

Oral finasteride causes abnormal genitalia in babies born to pregnant women who come in contact with the drug, according to the drugs.com Finasteride monograph[11]Opens in a new tab.

Long-term, oral finasteride can cause Post Finasteride Syndrome, a sexual nightmare that deserves its own name. Post Finasteride Syndrome symptoms include decreased fertility, low libido, poor ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction.

And suicidal thoughts.

Platelet-rich plasma can cause scalp pain, which is really the best news we’ve heard so far. But hold tight, because it gets much better than that.

Hair transplantation can cause infection, scarring, pain, itching, swelling and bleeding. Fortunately, all are short-term side effects.

— drum roll please —

Light devices have no short term or long-term side effects.

Studies show that red light therapy (a catchall term for the low energy use of red, infrared, blue, green and yellow light) stops hair loss and regrows hair.

Blue 415 nm, green 525 nm, red 660 nm and infrared 830 nm have shown in clinical trials to be effective as hair regrowth wavelengths[12]Opens in a new tab.

The HairMax LaserComb increased hair density by 11.9 hairs per sq. cm. in a double blind, sham-controlled multi-center 26 week trial. Subjects were 110 men with Norwood Hamilton hair class types IIA-V that was diagnosed as androgenetic alopecia[13]Opens in a new tab.

Researchers tested 630 nm and 660 nm red light LEDs, and a 650 nm laser light on 26 men and 14 women with androgenetic alopecia. After 24 weeks of treatment every other day the subjects gained 17.2 hairs per sq. cm. and a significant increase in hair thickness[14]Opens in a new tab.

Subsequent studies yielded similar results[15]Opens in a new tab.

 

How to view these devices:
To view the devices mentioned in this article, click to go to the product list:

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