Should I worry about finasteride side effect reports?

Q. I have read several news reports that claim finasteride, which I take for my prostate problem, can cause permanent impotence. Should I be concerned?

A. Finasteride (sold as Proscar and generic brands) is prescribed for symptoms of an enlarged prostate; it's also used at a lower strength (under the name Propecia) for male pattern baldness. Finasteride blocks the metabolism of testosterone. It can prevent hair loss and decrease prostate enlargement, but not surprisingly, it can also suppress sexual function. However, the side effects of a medication usually go away when you stop taking it.

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