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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Finasteride induced depression: a prospective study

Babak Rahimi-Ardabili1*, Ramin Pourandarjani2, Peiman Habibollahi3 and Amir Mualeki1

Author Affiliations

1 Clinical Pharmacy Laboratory, Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

2 Sina's clinic of Dermatology, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

3 Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Clinical Pharmacology 2006, 6:7  doi:10.1186/1472-6904-6-7

Published: 7 October 2006

Abstract

Background

Finasteride is a competitive inhibitor of 5 alpha-reductase enzyme, and is used for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and androgenetic alopecia. Animal studies have shown that finasteride might induce behavioral changes. Additionally, some cases of finasteride-induced depression have been reported in humans. The purpose of this study was to examine whether depressive symptoms or anxiety might be induced by finasteride administration.

Methods

One hundred and twenty eight men with androgenetic alopecia, who were prescribed finasteride (1 mg/day) were enrolled in this study. Information on depressed mood and anxiety was obtained by Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Participants completed BDI and HADS questionnaires before beginning the treatment and also two months after it.

Results

Mean age of the subjects was 25.8(± 4.4) years. At baseline, mean BDI and HADS depression scores were 12.11(± 7.50) and 4.04(± 2.51), respectively. Finasteride treatment increased both BDI (p < 0.001) and HADS depression scores significantly (p = 0.005). HADS anxiety scores were increased, but the difference was not significant (p = 0.061).

Conclusion

This preliminary study suggests that finasteride might induce depressive symptoms; therefore this medication should be prescribed cautiously for patients with high risk of depression. It seems that further studies would be necessary to determine behavioral effects of this medication in higher doses and in more susceptible patients.