Recent studies of adverse events

A wave of studies of adverse event reports link finasteride to sexual disorders as well as cognitive dysfunction. The field of pharmacovigilance assess the effects of drugs as they are used in the real world. Researchers often use adverse event (AE) data from FDA’s FAERS database or the World Health Organization’s EudraVigilance database. The records, … Read more

The most far-fetched theories of post-finasteride syndrome

The two most far-fetched theories of post-finasteride syndrome were proposed by a dermatologist and a hair transplant surgeon. Physicians in these specialties tend to fervently deny that the syndrome is a valid medical condition, pointing instead to co-occurring conditions such as diabetes, anxiety, depression or, according to the theories below, delusions or sleep apnea. Theory … Read more

Response to Campbell et al on finasteride-associated suicide and depression in men treated for hypogonadism and impotence

The clear and concerning results in this abstract are statistically significant RORs for suicidal and self-injurious behaviors, anxiety disorders and depressed mood disorders in the finasteride-only group. The suggestion that combination therapy could “decrease” risk or have a “protective” role is unwarranted because the risk ratios are derived from unrelated sets of cases. This study seems to treat pharmacovigilance data as if it were a controlled, prospective study, when the data is uncontrolled and retrospective.

Polls vs. official data on side effect rates

Since online polls are anonymous, there is less risk to disclosing embarrassing side effects. In online polls, the rate of side effects was 6.2x greater than the rate of adverse events in a clinical trial. The clinical setting may suppress safety concerns in sensitive areas such as sexuality and mental state.

Appendix: Results of online polls on side effects

This is an Appendix to the post: Polls vs. official data on side effect rates. Summary Mobile users: swipe left to see more columns. ID & source Date posted Participants % with side effects % with severe or persistent side effects P1. r/tressless Jan 2016 146 53.4% NA P2. r/HairLoss Jul 2021 110 27.3% NA … Read more

Disability and deaths in men who used finasteride

Databases of drug adverse events contain tremendous variation. They include reports from patients of all ages, and many took other drugs that might explain outcomes. In this analysis, cases were limited to men ages 18–40 where the ‘Suspected Product’ field only contained finasteride (or, in the comparison below, minoxidil). This is only a fraction of … Read more

From the depths: why finasteride harms took decades to emerge

Physician-researchers blamed growing safety concerns on patients, overlooking social context and weaknesses in safety regime The official view of Propecia, fashioned by Merck at a reported cost of $450 million, is that the drug is safe and effective. Upon approval by FDA in 1997, this view was carried forward by dermatologists, some of whom were … Read more

Context matters: a rebuttal to yet another analysis of adverse events of finasteride

This post responds to a recent research letter: Disproportional signal of sexual dysfunction reports associated with finasteride use in young men with androgenetic alopecia: a pharmacovigilance analysis of VigiBase.

A tweeted rebuttal to yet another analysis of finasteride adverse events

A thread originally posted on Twitter is reproduced below. For an in-depth version, see the essay Context matters. See also a critique of three previous papers with similar designs, findings and conclusions. Twitter thread Nguyen et al, 2022 is the fourth analysis of adverse events of finasteride to appear since 2018. All four studies play … Read more