Baldness drug may curb men's alcohol intake

Washington, PTI | Updated : 17 June 2013, 10:04 AM

A drug used by men to slow a receding hair line may also reduce their alcohol craving, a new study claims.

Researcher Michael S Irwig, assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) found that men who used the medication finasteride (Propecia) and developed persistent sexual side effects, are also drinking less alcohol than before.

While robust literature exists on the interaction between finasteride and alcohol in rodents, this is the first study to examine the role of finasteride in alcohol consumption in humans with male pattern hair loss.

The findings from this study are consistent with the findings from research in rodents, identifying that finasteride has the ability to modulate alcohol intake.

"Finasteride use leads to decreased concentrations of important hormones in the brain called neurosteroids. Because this is a preliminary report, further research is needed on the effects of finasteride in the human brain," said Irwig.

"This is an important step towards better understanding the breadth of side effects in humans from the drug finasteride," Irwig said.

Irwig administered standardised interviews to 83 otherwise healthy men who developed persistent sexual side effects associated with finasteride, despite the cessation of this medication for at least three months.

Information regarding medical histories, sexual function, and alcohol consumption before and after taking finasteride was collected.

Of the 63 men who consumed at least one alcoholic drink per week prior to starting finasteride, 41 men (65 per cent) noted a decrease in their alcohol consumption after stopping finasteride.

Twenty men (32 percent) reported no change in their alcohol consumption and two men (3 per cent) reported an increase in alcohol consumption.

Finasteride (Propecia) is a synthetic drug for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern baldness (MPB).

The study was published in the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

First Published: Monday, June 17, 2013 09:59 AM
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