Hair Growth Medication Side Effects

by | Sep 4, 2023 | hair loss | 0 comments

Finasteride is widely used in managing male pattern hair loss and has been reported to cause sexual side effects. Another hair loss medication, topical Minoxidil, may cause rash, reddened skin, burning sensation and acne on the application site. This blog examines the evidence that confirms the possible sexual side effects caused by Finasteride and Minoxidil.  

Hair loss medications & risk of side effects

In the last two decades, there has been a tremendous increase in the treatment of men’s hair loss. With 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors, such as Finasteride, one should no longer live with noticeable hair loss. Yes, you have heard it. It is now possible to stop or delay the progression of hair loss with medications. 

The commonly prescribed medication, Finasteride, sold as Finpecia 1mg, is a prescription medicine meant to be taken orally. The hair loss medication can treat male pattern baldness and androgenetic alopecia. When you think of hair loss medicine, another name that comes to mind is Minoxidil. This hair loss medication is often available over the counter. The FDA approves Minoxidil for treating androgenic alopecia and female pattern hair loss. The formula typically consists of liquids and shampoos. It is mostly recommended to apply it to dry or towel-dried hair. It can take up to at least four months to see results.  Along with their intended effects, these hair loss drugs can also cause side effects. Below are some common and serious side effects of these medicines.

Common side effects of Finasteride

One commonly faced question by dermatologists while treating a patient of male pattern baldness is the possible sexual side effect caused by Finasteride.

These side effects usually improve after a while. However, it is important to speak to your doctor if these side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Difficulty receiving an erection and less interested in involving in sexual activities
  • Trouble ejaculating, such as little or no semen

Serious side effects

Serious side effects are rare with the use of Finasteride. Some men may notice these side effects after taking Finpecia 1mg for a few months.

Talk to your doctor if you get any lumps, pain, swelling in your chest area, unusually low mood, or thoughts of harming yourself.   

Serious allergic reaction

Rarely, Finpecia 1 mg may cause a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Make an emergency call to a hospital if you develop any of the following:

  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest or throat
  • A rash that may include red, itchy, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin
  • Trouble breathing or talking
  • Swelling of face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat  

You could have a serious allergic reaction needing an immediate medical emergency. These are not all the possible side effects of Finasteride 1mg. For the full list of the side effects, speak to your doctor.   

How to deal with side effects?

Trouble getting an erection or lack of interest in sex should improve with time. If these side effects worsen, speak to your healthcare provider. In case of ejaculation problems, there is no need to worry as this side effect is harmless. Speak to your doctor if the condition doesn’t improve.  

Caution with other medicines

Combining Finasteride with herbal supplements can cause side effects. St. John’s wort might affect Finasteride’s working. However, there’s little evidence that taking other herbal supplements with Finasteride can cause drug interaction. Therefore, telling your doctor if you take other medicines, including vitamins or supplements, is important.  

Possible side effects of Minoxidil

Along with its needed effects, topical Minoxidil may cause unwanted effects. Although an individual using Minoxidil may not experience all of these side effects, if they do, they may require medical attention. Check with your dermatologist as soon as possible if any of the following side effects develop while using Minoxidil:

  • Acne at the application site
  • Itching or skin rash
  • Burning of scalp
  • Reddened skin
  • Swelling of face
  • Inflammation or soreness at the root of the hair
  • Increased hair loss

Symptoms of too much Minoxidil being absorbed into the body:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Fainting
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Weight gain
  • Lightness
  • Numbness or tingling of face, feet, hands, or feet
  • Swelling of face, hands, feet or lower legs.   


Hair loss medication like Finasteride can cause side effects such as being unable to get an erection and lacking interest in sex. These side effects usually resolve after a while. Topical Minoxidil may cause rash, reddened skin, burning sensation, or acne at the application site. If these side effects do not resolve, or affect your sex life, talk to your doctor immediately.  

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