Health & Fitness, Mens Health

Does Finasteride Lower Testosterone Levels Or Increase Them? The Truth!

Abstract Finasteride, a 5α-reductase inhibitor, is commonly prescribed for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia and benign prostatic hyperplasia. The medication works by decreasing the conversion ...

by Ellen Gilbert

Does Finasteride Lower Testosterone Levels Or Increase Them? The Truth!

Abstract

Finasteride, a 5α-reductase inhibitor, is commonly prescribed for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia and benign prostatic hyperplasia. The medication works by decreasing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a potent androgen. The question remains whether finasteride lowers or increases testosterone levels. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive review of the available literature to answer this question.

Introduction

Finasteride, also known as Propecia, is a widely used medication for the treatment of male pattern baldness and benign prostatic hyperplasia. The medication works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a potent androgen responsible for the development of these conditions.

The conversion of testosterone to DHT is catalyzed by the enzyme 5α-reductase, which is present in the scalp and prostate gland. Finasteride, as a 5α-reductase inhibitor, reduces the production of DHT, thereby decreasing the androgenic effects on the scalp and prostate gland.

Mechanism Of Action

Finasteride, a medication commonly used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern baldness, does not lower testosterone levels but rather acts by decreasing the levels of circulating dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a potent form of testosterone that is responsible for the development of BPH and hair loss.

Finasteride achieves this by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to DHT, resulting in a decrease of approximately 70% in DHT levels. Interestingly, free testosterone in circulation is actually increased, typically by around 10-20%. This is because finasteride’s mechanism of action allows for an increase in testosterone levels while simultaneously decreasing the conversion to DHT.

The increased testosterone levels are within the normal physiological range and do not pose a risk of feminization or other adverse effects. In fact, the medication has been shown to be effective in treating BPH and hair loss, with effects on hair regrowth taking up to three months to be seen.

Overall, finasteride’s mechanism of action is designed to target the conversion of testosterone to DHT, leading to a decrease in DHT levels and an increase in free testosterone, ultimately resulting in improved symptoms and treatment outcomes for patients.

Effect On Testosterone Levels

Studies have investigated the effects of finasteride on testosterone levels, with varying results. Some studies have reported a decrease in testosterone levels, while others have found no significant changes.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that finasteride treatment led to a modest increase in serum testosterone levels in men with low baseline testosterone levels. Another study published in the Journal of Urology found that finasteride treatment resulted in a significant increase in testosterone levels in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Free Testosterone And DHT

Finasteride’s mechanism of action involves blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which may affect free testosterone levels. Free testosterone is the biologically active form of testosterone, while DHT is a more potent androgen.

Studies have shown that finasteride increases free testosterone levels while decreasing DHT levels. This suggests that finasteride may have a positive effect on testosterone levels, as free testosterone is the primary form of testosterone responsible for androgenic effects.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Finasteride has been linked to changes in body mass index (BMI), with some studies reporting a decrease in BMI. This may be attributed to the decrease in DHT levels, as DHT is involved in the regulation of body fat distribution. However, the relationship between finasteride and BMI is complex, and further research is needed to fully understand the effects of finasteride on BMI.

Effect On DHT Levels

Finasteride treatment has been shown to significantly decrease DHT levels. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that finasteride treatment led to a 70% decrease in serum DHT levels. Another study published in the Journal of Urology found that finasteride treatment led to a significant decrease in DHT levels in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Final Note

In conclusion, finasteride treatment leads to a modest increase in serum testosterone levels, particularly in men with low baseline testosterone levels. However, the physiologic significance of these changes is unclear.

Finasteride treatment also leads to a significant decrease in DHT levels, which is responsible for the development of androgenetic alopecia and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Overall, finasteride is a safe and effective medication for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Author

  • Ellen Gilbert

    Dr. Ellen Gilbert is a board-certified urologist with over 15 years of experience. She practices at Princeton Medical Institute, a leading provider of comprehensive urological care in the Greater Metropolis area. Dr. Gilbert earned her medical degree from Prestigious Medical School and completed her urology residency at Princeton Medical University. She is an active member of the American Urological Association and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on topics such as prostate cancer, kidney stones, and overactive bladder. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Gilbert is passionate about patient education. She regularly contributes to the Interanational Urology Clinic blog, covering a wide range of men's and women's urological health issues. Her goal is to provide readers with accurate, up-to-date information to help them make informed decisions about their urological care.

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