A report of severe anxiety and tinnitus attributed to finasteride

I came across this post on the hair loss-focused subreddit r/tressless:

My experience with severe anxiety and tinnitus as a result of finasteride

Hello, I just made this account to post my experience with finasteride in response to another post, but thought it should be it’s own post.

I quit taking Finasteride in March of 2019. I started taking it in small doses in the middle of 2017. I would take around 1/4 of a pill every other day. I did not notice any sides at this point. My hair loss is very slow, one temple started receding a tiny bit when I was around 21. I am currently 33. It was very gradually getting worse so that is why I started the low dose finasteride.

In the fall of 2018 I thought that maybe what I was using wasn’t enough as I was still shedding some and felt it hadn’t completely stopped hair loss; so I increased the dosage up to 1/2 of a milligram a day sometime in September or October of 2018.

Finasteride may have made a small impact on my libido and could occasionally maybe result in a less than 100% strength erection, say 94%. Overall I would say I experienced very little sides in that regard.

There was another side effect that had begun that I was unaware of, which was panic attacks. After increasing my dosage, I suddenly started experiencing intense feelings of dread and panic at places like the grocery store, especially when I had to line up for instance at the deli counter. I never have any real anxiety and I didn’t know what to make of it at the time. It got so bad that there were a few times I actually had to leave the store and stand outside to chill out.

This only happened occasionally at first. Then one day around the end of February 2019 I woke up one day at home and suddenly had tinnitus. I also had extreme feelings of anxiety and panic for absolutely no reason. I live with my girlfriend and I actually had to make her call in sick to work to stay home one day because I felt so terrible. I couldn’t even get out of the bed hardly. The tinnitus was relentless and the anxiety I felt was so intense I couldn’t believe it. I felt like my head almost was buzzing or had some sort of pressure all the time. I couldn’t even hardly do anything at home even, besides pace around and feel terrible. I literally thought I was about to be committed to a mental institution.

I went to one of those walk-in medical clinics to talk to a doctor about the tinnitus. I had them clean out my earwax in hopes that would help, but it didn’t really do anything. I started reading about finasteride and anxiety and discovered that this was actually something that had happened to other people and there were ongoing studies researching what was called Post Finasteride Syndrome. I immediately quit taking the finasteride within a week of the intense anxiety coming on. After a month, I was feeling better but still thought about anxiety nearly constantly every single day. By June 2019 I had to go to a wedding in another state and on the drive there I stopped at a burger place and had the last panic attack since all this happened while waiting to order. The tinnitus also went away by around this time.

My anxiety continued, but the panic attacks were pretty much gone. Currently I still experience a little anxiety, but I believe it’s almost a form of PTSD from the intense anxiety and panic I felt in that spring of 2018. Overall I would say I’m 90 – 95% back to how I was before.

There was absolutely no reason to feel anxiety or panic when I did. My life was going well, I was happy and it literally just came out of nowhere. The tinnitus was awful and synergistically seemed to make the anxiety even worse.

This is the first time I have posted this for anyone to see. I know it sounds crazy, but it really did happen. The anxiety and panic I felt were so terrible, it’s hard to realize that it is even possible to feel that way. Something was extremely out of balance in my brain. My sister had moved into a new house in March of 2018 and I went there with my girlfriend despite warning her we probably shouldn’t go because of how I was at the time. My parents, sister, and grandma were there. I experienced a severe panic attack just sitting at her house talking with my family. I even drank a couple beers and it did literally NOTHING.

Hopefully if anyone else out there experiences this they can find this and realize it will get better after quitting.

edit: When I mentioned to my gf that I finally posted about this she said make sure they understand how bad you were. I went from very calm and logical to panicked and emotional. I remember I used to always lick my lips for some reason from the anxiety and they were so chapped and bloody from doing that all the time and then drying out worse than before. This was definitely NOT placebo. I didn’t even know this could happen from Finasteride.

Post on r/tressless, 22 Jun 2020

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