An Exploration of Post Finasteride Syndrome

Amisha Jain
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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If you have been suggested to take Finasteride for your baldness or enlarged prostate, chances are that you have been warned about something called Post Finasteride Syndrome (PFS).

A survey of PFS patients found that the most commonly reported symptoms were erectile dysfunction (94%), decreased libido (92%), and decreased semen volume (70%).

It sure sounds scary, but if you have been wondering about starting this medication yourself and wish to make an informed decision, look no further.

This article answers all your questions about PFS, including its symptoms, the research about Finasteride, and how to treat PFS.

What is Post-Finasteride Syndrome

Post-Finasteride Syndrome (PFS) is a term used to define a set of persistent side effects reported by some patients who have taken Finasteride.

The PFS foundation states these symptoms could be mental, neurological, physical, or sexual.

The prevalence of PFS is still unknown.

According to a study, about 15% of men who take Finasteride experience sexual dysfunction.

PFS foundation found that 1.2% of men who took Finasteride for over 205 days developed Erectile Dysfunction, which lasted for about 4.2 years after discontinuing the medication.

But the prevalence of other symptoms still needs to be documented well.

Symptoms

The reported symptoms of PFS can be broadly divided into three categories- sexual, physical, and mental/ neurological.

These have been discussed below:

Sexual symptoms

Sexual symptoms include

  • Decreased or loss of sex drive
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Orgasm disorders
  • A decrease in semen volume and force
  • Shrinkage or numbness of the scrotum and penis
Fact
A study published in 2011 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that the median duration of sexual side effects of PFS was 40 months.

Physical symptoms

There could be noticeable signs in the appearance of the person as well. These symptoms include:

  • Development of female-like breasts
  • Chronic fatigue or listlessness
  • Muscle pain or stiffness
  • Skin-related issues
  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Impact on the metabolism

Mental/ neurological symptoms

PFS has been reported to affect people on the neurological level as well.

The neurological symptoms include

  • Memory impairment
  • Slower cognitive abilities
  • Psychological issues like depression and anxiety
  • Sleep-related problems such as insomnia or sleep apnea

Notably, some patients can experience suicidal tendencies as well.

Symptoms of PFS often persist even after discontinuing the medication.

Depression can be a symptom of Post Finasteride SyndromeSource: hrabar_from_Getty_Images
Depression is a symptom of Post Finasteride Syndrome

Research about Finasteride

Based on the above discussion, Post-Finasteride Syndrome seems to be a severe and untreatable condition.

But it is important to see the data objectively regarding the severe side effects of the medication.

It is only beneficial to treat the existing condition if the treatment outweighs the side effects that would result from the medications.

Researchers have found that Finasteride does lead to some side effects mentioned above.

However, only a tiny percentage of people on this medication experienced this side effect.


For instance, in a one-year-long trial, men suffering from Androgenetic Alopecia who was on 1mg Finasteride experienced these side effects:

  • Low libido (1.8% of the men)
  • Erectile dysfunction (1.3% of the men)
  • Ejaculation Disorder (1.2% of the men)

These numbers might be alarming, but men who were in the placebo group reported the same side effects.

The above symptoms were reported in 1.3%, 0.7%, and 0.7% of the men, respectively.

Over the longer term, the differences in side effects between these two groups became significantly smaller.

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Having said that, the majority of research used to support the concept of Post-Finasteride Syndrome is not high quality.

Experts believe the symptoms commonly associated with PFS could also be caused by other factors.

Hence, more research needs to be done to understand the potential risks of Finasteride in PFS.

Treatment of Post Finasteride Syndrome

There is no cure known for Post-Finasteride Syndrome. 

However, some treatments may help alleviate the symptoms and provide relief.

It is suggested that you discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider.

They might be able to suggest therapies or medications help with your symptoms.

Your healthcare provider might also refer you to a specialist who might be more helpful in helping you manage your symptoms.

Takeaway

Post-Finasteride Syndrome is a set of persistent side effects that some men experience after discontinuing Finasteride.

These side effects can include sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and physical symptoms.

There is no cure known for Post-Finasteride Syndrome, but your doctor might suggest some treatments that may help alleviate symptoms. 

However, more research is suggested to know if PFS is as dangerous as it sounds.

Warning
Post-Finasteride Syndrome may cause persistent sexual dysfunction and other symptoms. Discuss potential risks with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can Post-Finasteride Syndrome last?

The duration of Post-Finasteride Syndrome is variable and not well established. Some men may experience symptoms for a few weeks or months, while others may experience symptoms for years. A study published in 2011 found that the median duration of sexual side effects was 40 months.

How likely is Post-Finasteride Syndrome?

According to the PFS foundation, 1.2% of men who took Finasteride for over 205 days developed Erectile Dysfunction, which lasted for about 4.2 years after discontinuing the medication. But, more research is needed to assess the prevalence correctly.

What is the Post-Finasteride Syndrome?

Post-Finasteride Syndrome (PFS) is a set of persistent side effects that some men experience after discontinuing Finasteride, a medication used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern baldness. These side effects include sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and other physical, mental, or sexual symptoms.

How do I know if I have Finasteride syndrome?

If you have persistent side effects after discontinuing Finasteride, you may have Post-Finasteride Syndrome. These side effects can include sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and other physical, mental, or sexual symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Is Post-Finasteride Syndrome curable?

There is no cure known for Post-Finasteride Syndrome. However, there are some treatments that may help alleviate symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider to know the best options for the symptoms you might be experiencing.

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