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Volume 24, Issue 4 (July 2022) 24, 390–397; 10.4103/aja202171

Sexual, physical, and overall adverse effects in patients treated with 5α-reductase inhibitors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Jun-Jie Zhang1,2, Xiao Shi3, Ting Wu4, Meng-Da Zhang1,2, Jin Tang1, Guang-Ming Yin1, Zhi Long1, Le-Ye He1, Lin Qi2, Long Wang1

1 Department of Urology, The Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410008, China
2 Department of Urology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410013, China
3 Department of Gastroenterology, The Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410013, China
4 Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, The Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410013, China

Correspondence: Dr. L Wang (wanglong@csu.edu.cn)

Date of Submission 18-Dec-2020 Date of Acceptance 02-Sep-2021 Date of Web Publication 29-Oct-2021


Postfinasteride syndrome (PFS) is a term coined to characterize a constellation of reported undesirable sexual, physical, and neuropsychiatric side effects. In the present study, we conducted the meta-analysis to demonstrate whether the use of 5α-reductase inhibitors (5ARIs) increases the risk of PFS-like adverse effects. A search of studies published until May 10, 2020, was performed using PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library. We included randomized controlled trials with at least one comparison between male patients receiving 5ARIs versus placebo for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or androgenetic alopecia (AGA), and identified 34 studies from 28 articles that met our eligibility criteria. In the random-effects model, the overall use of 5ARIs exhibited a 1.87-fold risk of PFS-like adverse effects during the trial (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.64–2.14). Regarding specific types of adverse effects, the use of 5ARIs had a 1.89-fold risk of sexual adverse effects (95% CI: 1.74–2.05) and was associated with an increased risk of physical adverse effects (relative risk [RR]: 1.31, 95% CI: 0.80–2.15), albeit without statistical significance. This meta-analysis helped to better define the adverse effects caused by 5ARIs. We concluded that the overall use of 5ARIs significantly increased the risk of PFS-like adverse effects in men with AGA or BPH during treatment. Enhanced awareness of and education on the PFS-like adverse effects are necessary for clinicians.

Keywords: 5α-reductase inhibitors; adverse effects; androgenetic alopecia; benign prostatic hyperplasia; postfinasteride syndrome

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