MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Blayne Welk, MD, FRCSC
Assistant Professor of Surgery
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Concerns have been raised by regulatory agencies and patients about possible serious psychiatric side effects associated with the use of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. These medications can be used for both enlarged prostates and alopecia.
We used administrative data to assess for potential psychiatric side effects associated with finasteride and dutasteride usage in older men with benign prostatic enlargement.
In our study we found that there was no increased risk of suicide associated with the use of these medications. However, there was a small increase in both self-harm and new onset depression associated with the use of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: There may be a small but significant increase in the risk of self-harm and depression associated with the use of 5 alpha reductase inhibitors.
However, given the small absolute risk increase, the benefits of these medications for men with BPH likely outweigh this risk. Physicians and patients should be aware of this risk, and reassess the use of this medication in the setting of new onset depression or self-harm behavior.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Further research should be done to assess these outcomes among men using finasteride for alopecia.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Welk B, McArthur E, Ordon M, Anderson KK, Hayward J, Dixon S. Association of Suicidality and Depression With 5α-Reductase Inhibitors. JAMA Intern Med. Published online March 20, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0089
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