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Drug For Male Pattern Baldness May Reduce Drinking

Posted by admin On February - 5 - 2014

Finasteride, a synthetic drug used primarily by athletes and bodybuilders using anabolic steroids to prevent side effects such as enlarged prostate and loss of hair, may reduce alcohol intake.

Drug For Male Pattern Baldness May Reduce Drinking

A study appearing in November 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research revealed that revealed that a majority of men with Finasteride-related sexual side effects noticed a decrease in their alcohol consumption.

“Finasteride is a synthetic medication used to treat enlarged prostates in older men,” explained Michael S. Irwig, assistant professor of medicine at The George Washington University and sole author of the study. “It is also used by younger men for male pattern baldness. In younger men with male pattern baldness, [less than] five percent have developed sexual side effects. Finasteride has not been used for alcohol reduction in humans; our study is among the first to look at its effects on drinking in humans.”

“Finasteride is a 5α-reductase inhibitor that blocks the production of a variety of cholesterol-derived hormones and modulators, including certain androgens and other steroids that are active in both the body and brain,” explained Chuck Zorumski, the Samuel B. Guze Professor and head of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine. “Neuroactive steroids like allopregnanolone help to regulate brain networks involved in emotion, motivation, and cognition. There is considerable interest in whether these neurosteroids contribute to psychiatric illnesses. Alcohol is known to augment the production of neurosteroids like allopregnanolone in animals, and these steroids are thought to contribute to the sedating, intoxicating, and adverse effects of alcohol, including acute memory impairment. The present study is important because it is the first study in humans to link clinical Finasteride use to changes in alcohol consumption.”

“Until more systematic studies are done, clinicians should be alert to problems and side effects associated with the use of alcohol in patients treated with Finasteride,” added Zorumski. “The findings should spur further studies both in humans and animals to determine the role of neurosteroids in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including alcoholism, depression, and anxiety. For example, it will be important to examine whether Finasteride enhances the toxicity of ethanol. However, results from Dr. Irwig’s cohort and previous animal studies raise intriguing possibilities about developing Finasteride-type drugs for the treatment of alcohol abuse.”

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