Why Doctors Don't Prescribe Finasteride?

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Finasteride, a synthetic medication approved for treating male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), has been a subject of debate and controversy. Despite its proven efficacy, some doctors may be hesitant to prescribe it, raising questions about the potential reasons behind this reluctance.

Why Doctors Don't Prescribe Finasteride

There are several potential reasons why some doctors may choose not to prescribe finasteride, despite its proven efficacy in treating hair loss and BPH. These reasons can include concerns about potential side effects, individual patient factors, and personal or professional biases.

Potential Side Effects

One of the primary concerns associated with finasteride is the risk of adverse side effects, particularly those related to sexual function. These side effects may include:

  • Decreased libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Ejaculatory disorders

While the incidence of these side effects is relatively low (around 2-4% in clinical trials), they can be distressing and impact the patient's quality of life. Additionally, there have been reports of persistent side effects, known as post-finasteride syndrome (PFS), even after discontinuing the medication, though the prevalence of PFS is not well-established.

Individual Patient Factors

Doctors may also consider individual patient factors when deciding whether to prescribe finasteride. These factors can include:

  • Age: Some doctors may be more hesitant to prescribe finasteride to younger patients due to concerns about potential long-term effects.
  • Risk-benefit analysis: For some patients, the potential risks of finasteride may outweigh the benefits, especially if their hair loss is not severe or if they have other underlying medical conditions.
  • Patient preferences: Some patients may express concerns or be unwilling to take a medication with potential sexual side effects, leading doctors to explore alternative treatment options.

Personal or Professional Biases

In some cases, a doctor's decision not to prescribe finasteride may be influenced by personal or professional biases. These biases could stem from:

  • Lack of familiarity or experience with the medication
  • Preference for alternative or natural treatments
  • Concerns about potential legal liabilities or malpractice suits related to side effects

Alternative Treatment Options

Additionally, some doctors may choose not to prescribe finasteride because they prefer to explore alternative treatment options first. These alternatives may include:

  • Minoxidil (topical solution)
  • Low-level laser therapy
  • Hair transplantation surgery
  • Natural remedies or supplements

The decision to prescribe finasteride or explore alternative treatments may depend on the doctor's assessment of the patient's specific needs and preferences, as well as their own professional judgment and experience.

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While finasteride is a clinically proven and effective treatment for male pattern baldness and BPH, some doctors may choose not to prescribe it due to concerns about potential side effects, individual patient factors, personal or professional biases, or a preference for alternative treatment options.

It's important for patients to have open and honest discussions with their healthcare providers, weighing the potential risks and benefits of finasteride against their individual circumstances and preferences. Additionally, seeking a second opinion or consulting with a specialist, such as a dermatologist or trichologist, can provide valuable insights and guidance in making an informed decision about hair loss treatment options.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.