1) In December 2009, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the UK announced new drug safety data on 5α-Reductase inhibitors. After carefully reviewing the results of several controlled studies, the agency wrote “an increased risk of male breast cancer associated with 5α-Reductase inhibitors use cannot be excluded.” On the basis of this information, it was recommended that a warning should be included in the product information for all medicines containing 5α-Reductase inhibitors mentioning the possible risk of breast cancer. To read the full article – click here
2) This 2006 research paper, published in the CNS Drug Reviews medical journal, raises the possibility that 5α-Reductase inhibitors can cross blood-brain barrier (BBB) and interfere with neurosteroids. This could have a noticeable impact on brain function. To read the full article – click here
3) The majority of available clinical data on 5α-Reductase inhibitors comes from various 5-year studies. The long-term implications of 5α-Reductase inhibitors consumption remain unknown. Because 5α-Reductase inhibitor treatment must be continued indefinitely, this is an important consideration.
4) Merck’s clinical data reveals that the side-effects of 5α-Reductase inhibitors include impotence (1.1% to 18.5%), abnormal ejaculation (7.2%), decreased ejaculatory volume (0.9% to 2.8%), abnormal sexual function (2.5%), gynecomastia (2.2%), erectile dysfunction (1.3%), ejaculation disorder (1.2%) and testicular pain.
We understand that 5α-Reductase inhibitors are a very popular treatment option for many customers. Nonetheless, safety is our foremost concern. 5α-Reductase inhibitors works by inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase, the androgen responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Unfortunately dihydrotestosterone is not only found in hair follicles. It is also synthesised in the testes, prostate and adrenal glands. Thus, the suppression of DHT may have a negative impact many other important biological processes.
We feel it is imperative for customers to know exactly what they are ingesting when they take prescription medication. While it is true that 5α-Reductase inhibitors have a respectable safety profile in comparison to other treatments, the risks still greatly outweigh any potential benefits.
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Question: Dr. Thomas Whitfield. Thank you very much for the E-Course regarding hair biology. The information is useful, however I still have a few questions.
Do you really think that 5α-Reductase inhibitors are a good preventive treatment? Would you recommend that an 18 year old with all of his hair start 5α-Reductase inhibitor treatment to prevent the progression of male pattern baldness?
It seems to me that this could be unhealthy. Thanks, TIA
Answer: Thanks for your question – this is a very good point you have.
As a matter of fact, at TRX2® we highly recommend NOT using 5α-Reductase inhibitors. In short, the long-term risks of using this medication are impossible to ascertain. From a scientific perspective, a number of studies have been carried out that really call into question the safety of 5α-Reductase inhibitors. Although the data might not be absolutely definitive, we don’t believe anyone should take unnecessary risks with regard to their health.
Hope this helps & please stay tuned!
Send your questions to AskTom@trx2.com
Thomas F.A. Whitfield, DPhil, is an internationally recognized expert on potassium ion channels, former scientist of the University of Oxford’s Department of Biochemistry and member of TRX2®’s Scientific Advisory Board.