The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) – the world’s leading medical authority on hair loss and hair restoration – cautions that recent anecdotal reports of persistent sexual dysfunction by some men who have used finasteride 1mg (Propecia) to treat hair loss should not define the safety and effectiveness of this drug. Propecia is the only oral medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hair loss in men.
From a scientific standpoint, the ISHRS reports that there are no evidence-based data substantiating the link between finasteride and persistent sexual side effects after discontinued use of the drug in numerous, double blinded, placebo controlled studies conducted evaluating the use of Propecia 1mg for hair loss.
“The health and well being of our patients is the utmost concern of the 900 physician members of the ISHRS – whether prescribing medications like Propecia or performing hair restoration surgery,” said ISHRS President Dr. Jennifer Martinick. “ISHRS members devote an average of 72% of their practices to medically and surgically treating hair loss, and collectively they have treated millions of men around the world suffering from hair loss with finasteride 1mg with virtually no side effects.”
Since receiving FDA approval in December of 1997, 20.5 million and 6.7 million patient-years of exposure using Proscar (finasteride 5mg) and Propecia (finasteride 1mg) respectively are recorded with a low adverse event profile. The ISHRS believes that these are the most current and reliable data available until further studies are conducted.
Sexual dysfunction is a complex disorder, and Dr. Martinick noted that it often can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause – particularly when multiple factors such as nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications, stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression can contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED).
“The incidence of ED in the general population is known to be quite high – as high as 49% in middle-aged and older men according to one study published in 2006 in the Archives of Internal Medicine,” said Dr. Martinick. “That being said, we owe it to our patients to address valid concerns in a scientific manner and to clarify any misleading reports so that men can make informed choices regarding the use of this medication.”
Recently, the ISHRS formed a task force to more closely examine anecdotal reports of sexual dysfunction by some Propecia users who have used the drug to treat hair loss. In addition, the ISHRS has called on the medical communities of dermatologists, hair loss physicians, urologists, endocrinologists and sexual medicine specialists to join in a colloquium to share all data and experiences with finasteride in a fact-based manner.
About the ISHRS
Founded in 1993, the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) is a non-profit medical association with a membership of over 900 physicians worldwide dedicated to the advancement of the art and science of hair restoration. The mission of the ISHRS is to achieve excellence in patient outcomes by promoting member education, international collegiality, research, ethics, and public awareness. For more information and to locate a physician, visit www.ishrs.org.