Some men who use the baldness drug finasteride (Propecia) report drinking less alcohol, according to a new study. The researchers say they are not sure why the medication may reduce the urge to drink, but suggest the drug may change the brain’s chemistry.
The study included 83 men who reported persistent sexual side effects from finasteride, even three months after they stopped using it. The men were asked about their medical histories, alcohol consumption and sexual function before and after using finasteride, HealthDay reports.
The researchers found that of the 63 men who had at least one drink a week before using the drug, 65 percent (41 men) drank less alcohol after they stopped using finasteride. Thirty-two percent of the men reported no change in their alcohol consumption, while 3 percent said they drank more.
“Finasteride interferes with the brain’s ability to make certain hormones called neurosteroids, which are likely linked to drinking alcohol,” lead researcher Dr. Michael Irwig of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, told HealthDay. “For younger men contemplating the use of finasteride for male pattern hair loss, they should carefully balance the modest cosmetic benefits of less hair loss versus some of the serious risks.”
The study appears in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
While previous research has shown a relationship between finasteride and alcohol in rodents, this is the first study to examine the role of the drug in alcohol consumption in humans with male pattern hair loss, according to a university news release.