Q. I have heard that 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.
However, some men report persistent sex drive and ejaculation problems after stopping the medication. This is not proof that finasteride is to blame, since a variety of medical conditions and other prescription drugs could explain the sexual symptoms. But it is a risk men should discuss with their doctor prior to starting finasteride.
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