Updated on 17 June 2013
Hope for alcohol addicts - Male pattern baldness drug Propecia may hinder a person's appetite for alcohol
Singapore: A research conducted by Dr Michael Irwig, an endocrinologist at George Washington University (GWU), US, has pointed out that Propecia, which is a popular drug for male pattern baldness, may also hinder a person's appetite for alcohol.
Finasteride, which is the synthetic drug reagent in Propecia, is also sold by Merck at a higher dose as Proscar and is used for the treatment of enlarged prostates. The drug blocks the production of steroid hormones that, along with hair growth, are known to impact brain regions that respond to alcohol in mice.
Prior studies have shown rodents given finasteride for seven days lose some of their preference for alcohol. The steroid hormones reduced by finasteride are also tied to sexual drive. A subset of patients treated with Propecia (less than four percent) has exhibited sexual dysfunction, such as lowered libido or erectile dysfunction.
Dr Irwig gave 63 of his former subjects a telephone survey that asked them to recall their drinking habits before and after their use of the finasteride. Around 41 subjects (65 percent) noted a decrease in their alcohol consumption after cessation of finasteride use. Before using the drug, they averaged about five drinks per week, which dropped to two per week after going on the drug.
Dr Irwig said that, "While studying the persistent sexual side effects associated with finasteride, we observed that the majority of the men had reduced their alcohol consumption. Many of these men completely stopped drinking alcohol."