Reported AEs with 5ARIs include sexual dysfunction, infertility, mood disorders, gynecomastia, high-grade prostate cancer, breast cancer, and cardiovascular morbidity/risk factors, although their true association, prevalence, causality, and clinical significance remain unclear. A pooled summary of all randomized, placebo-controlled trials evaluating 5ARIs (Nâ€‰=â€‰62,827) revealed slightly increased rates over placebo for decreased libido (1.5%), erectile dysfunction (ED) (1.6%), ejaculatory dysfunction (EjD) (3.4%), and gynecomastia (1.3%). The limited data available on the impact of 5ARIs on mood disorders demonstrate statistically significant (although clinically minimal) differences in rates of depression and/or anxiety. Similarly, there are limited reports of reversible, diminished fertility among susceptible individuals. Post-marketing surveillance reports have questioned the actual prevalence of AEs associated with 5ARI use and suggest the possibility of persistent symptoms after drug discontinuation. Well-designed studies evaluating these reports are needed.
This is from a new review of the available data, published in Sexual Medical Reviews, titled “Side Effects of 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors: A Comprehensive Review“.
The report concluded: “5ARIs are associated with slightly increased rates of decreased libido, ED, EjD, gynecomastia, depression, and/or anxiety. Further studies directed at identifying prevalence rates and persistence of symptoms beyond drug discontinuation are required to assess causality.”
Indeed, I look forward to reading more controlled studies that are necessary to determine the relationship between the cause and effect.