Finasteride found to have minimal effect on sexual function

July 5, 2007

The effect of finasteride (Proscar) on sexual functioning is minimal for most men and should not impact the decision to prescribe or take the drug, according to an analysis of the prospective Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial.

The effect of finasteride (Proscar) on sexual functioning is minimal for most men and should not impact the decision to prescribe or take the drug, according to an analysis of the prospective Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial.

Researchers assessed sexual dysfunction in 17,313 study participants during a 7-year period. A battery of questionnaires assessed sexual dysfunction, age, race, mental health, physical function, body mass index, smoking status, and the presence of diabetes and hypertension. Assessments began at month 6 after random assignment and included the Sexual Activity Scale score at randomization as a covariate.

The study, published in the online version of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that finasteride increased sexual dysfunction only slightly, and its impact diminished over time. The increase in the Sexual Activity Scale score relative to placebo of 3.21 points (95% CI; p<.001) at the first assessment decreased to 2.11 points (95% CI; p<.001) at the end of study.

After adjustment for all covariates, mean sexual dysfunction increased in both arms from baseline by 1.26 Sexual Activity points (95% CI; p<.001) per year, corresponding to a cumulative increase of 8.22 points (95% CI; p<.001) over the study period.